Manufacturing in New York shrinks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing activity in New York state contracted at the fastest pace since the Great Recession in August, pulled down by sharp declines in new orders and shipments.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index plunged to minus 14.9 from a positive reading of 3.9 in July. That is the lowest level since April 2009. Any reading above zero indicates expansion.

A gauge of new orders fell to minus 15.7 from minus 3.5, while a measure of shipments dropped to minus 13.8 from positive 7.9.

U.S. manufacturers have been struggling with a variety of headwinds, including weak overseas economies in Europe and China, that have cut into exports. The dollar has also risen about 20 percent in value in the past year, which can also reduce exports by making them more expensive.

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