N.Y. Fed's Empire State business index rises more than expected

An eagle tops the U.S. Federal Reserve building's facade in Washington, July 31, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - A barometer of manufacturing activity in New York state rebounded more than expected this month as shipments picked up and factory employment continued to grow steadily, the New York Federal Reserve said on Tuesday.

The regional Fed's "Empire State" index on current business conditions rose to a reading of 4.5 in November - the highest since July - from negative 9.1 in October.

That exceeded the median estimate of economists polled by Reuters for a reading of negative 5 and topped all 29 forecasts in the poll. A reading above zero signals the New York manufacturing sector is expanding.

Shipments improved and its measure of employment climbed to the highest since July. At the same time, however, new orders declined and measures of both input prices and prices received rose modestly, an indication of the slow pace of relief from inflationary pressures that has been driving the Fed to lift interest rates aggressively this year.

New York's manufacturing firms were also less optimistic. The survey's six-month outlook gauge fell 4.3 points this month to negative 6.1, the lowest since July, from negative 1.8 in October.

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