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New York factory growth slows in October to weakest since May: NY Fed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The pace of growth in New York state's manufacturing sector slipped this month to its slowest since May, but business optimism stayed strong, a report from the New York Federal Reserve showed on Tuesday.

The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index fell to 1.52 from 6.29 in September. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast an index of 7.00.

The New York Fed said the results suggested "that conditions were little changed over the month." A reading above zero indicates expansion.

The new orders index advanced to 7.75 from 2.35, but shipments dipped to 13.12 from 16.43.

Labor market conditions slowed, with the index for the number of employees dipping to 3.61 from 7.53 in September. The average employee workweek index gained to 3.61 from 1.08.

Firms' brighter outlook held steady into October. The index of six-month business conditions edged up to 40.76 from 40.64, which "conveyed strong optimism about future business conditions," the New York Fed statement noted.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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