NEW YORK, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Business activity in the U.S. state of New York grew strongly in May as its main index number climbed 4 points to 20.1, according to a survey released Tuesday by the state's Federal Reserve Bank.
The May Empire State Manufacturing Survey showed its headline general business conditions index beat market expectations of 15.5.
Forty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent reported that conditions had worsened.
Meanwhile, the new orders index rose seven points to 16.0 in May, and the shipments index was little changed at 19.1, suggesting ongoing growth in orders and shipments.
The index for number of employees edged up three points to 8.7, while the average workweek index fell to 11.1, readings pointing to a modest increase in employment and hours worked.
Optimism about the six-month outlook increased, but fell short of levels enjoyed in recent months.
The index for future business conditions, which plunged to 18.3 in April after remaining above 40 for most of the past year and a half, regained 13 points to reach 31.1 in May.
The Empire State Manufacturing index closely watches manufacturing activity in New York State. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducts the survey monthly and participants represent a variety of industries.