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Feb. Empire State factory index rises to 15.4

Feb. Empire State factory index rises to 15.4 (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Conditions for manufacturing in the New York region improved in February from the prior month, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Tuesday. The bank's Empire State Manufacturing index rose to 15.4 in February from a revised 11.9 in January. This is the highest level since last June and above analyst expectations. Economists had forecast the index would rise to 14.3. In February, the new orders index edged down and the shipments index retreated after a strong gain in the prior month. The inventory index rose to its highest level since last April. The index for numbers of employees fell but the average workweek moved higher. The prices paid index rose to 45.8 in February, its highest level since August 2008. But the prices received index rose only slightly to 16.9.