April NY Fed manufacturing growth hits 6-month high

NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) - A gauge of manufacturing in New York State rose to a six-month high in April as new orders advanced and employment continued to improve, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Thursday.

The New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index rose to 31.86 in April, the highest since October and up from 22.86 in March.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a figure of 24.00.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.

The employment index rose to 20.25 in April, the highest since March 2006, and up from 12.35 last month. New orders rose to a six-month high of 29.49 in April and up from 25.43 last month.

Reporting by John Parry and Wanfeng Zhou; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama