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July Empire State index remains below zero

July Empire State index remains below zero (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Manufacturing activity contracted in the New York region in July for the second straight month, according to the Empire state survey released Friday by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The Empire state index inched up to a negative 3.8 in July from negative 7.8 in June. Readings below zero indicate deterioration, with higher numbers of firms reporting that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell to negative 5.5, while the shipments index improved to 2.2. The prices paid index fell to 43.3 in July from 56.1 in June. The index has fallen 27 points over the past two months. The employment index fell to a level near zero while the average workweek index dropped well into negative territory.