The survey's headline index fell to 8.24 from last month's 9.46 reading.
Economists predicted the index would rise slightly to 10.00.
The drop suggests that business conditions for New York manufacturers continued to improve over the past month, albeit at a slower pace than the month before.
Below is a summary of the data from the release:
The August 2013 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved modestly for a third consecutive month. The general business conditions index, at 8.2, was little changed from last month. The new orders index slipped four points to 0.3 and the shipments index fell seven points to 1.5, suggesting that both orders and shipments were flat. The prices paid index rose slightly to 20.5, and the prices received index climbed three points to 3.6. Labor market conditions improved, with the index for number of employees climbing eight points to 10.8 and the average workweek index rising twelve points to 4.8. Both of these indexes reached their highest levels in a year. Indexes for the six-month outlook generally pointed to strong optimism about future business activity; the future general business conditions index rose five points to 37.4, its highest level in more than a year.
In response to a series of supplementary questions, manufacturers predicted that overall sales or revenues would be 5 percent higher in 2013 than in 2012; employment levels and capital spending were expected to be little changed from last year. Also, more respondents reported that they had scaled back than raised their sales expectations for 2013 from what they had anticipated at the beginning of the year. Hiring and capital spending plans for 2013 were only slightly less positive than at the beginning of the year.
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