The New York Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Index, which measures manufacturing activity in the New York area, hit record lows for the month of March. The index fell to -22.2, down from -11.7 in February. The previous low was -19.6, back in November 2001. Economists had been expecting the index to rebound slightly, to -5.0.
Despite the horrible number, expectations for future business conditions improved slightly, with the future index increasing to 25.8 from 22.7. The new orders index also improved for the month, jumping to -4.7 from -11.9.
The prices-paid index rose to 50.6 in March, up from 47.4 in February.
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