New York manufacturing expanded in April

WASHINGTON – Factory activity in New York expanded in April at the fastest pace in more than a year, a sign U.S.manufacturing may be picking up after a tough 2015.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Friday that its Empire State manufacturing index jumped to 9.6 in April from 0.6 in the previous month. It was only the second positive reading since July. Any reading above zero indicates growth.

A gauge of new orders rose to 11.1 from 9.6 in the previous month, suggesting output may rise again next month. A measure of shipment slipped.

Yet a broader report on overall U.S. industrial production, issued by the Fed in Washington on Friday, showed that U.S. manufacturers are still struggling. Manufacturing production nationwide fell 0.3 per cent, pulled down by a cutback in auto production. Utility and mining output also fell.

Those figures suggest that slower overseas growth, a strong dollar and weak consumer spending are still weighing on American manufacturers.