The Empire State Manufacturing Survey general business-conditions index fell 11 points to 19.4 points in November from the three-year high of 30.2 it hit in October.
The still-positive reading indicates expansion or growth in manufacturing activity, while a negative number on the index would point to a sector decline.
The results of the November survey show that business activity “continued to grow strongly” for New York manufacturers, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its report issued on Nov. 15.
The survey found 37 percent of New York manufacturing respondents reported that business conditions had improved over the month, while 17 percent said that conditions had worsened.
The new-orders index rose 3 points to 20.7, indicating “solid growth” in orders, the New York Fed said.
After advancing to a multi-year high in October, the shipments index fell 9 points to 18.4. The unfilled-orders index moved down 7 points to -4.6, pointing to a “small decline” in unfilled orders.
The delivery-time index fell 5 points to -5.4, indicating shorter delivery times, and the inventories index rose 12 points to 4.6, a sign that inventory levels increased “modestly.”
The index for number of employees fell 4 points to 11.5, suggesting that employment “expanded, though at a somewhat slower pace” than in October.
The average-workweek index remained near zero, indicating that hours worked “held steady.”
Prices increased at about the same pace as the previous month: the prices-paid index edged down slightly to 24.6, and the prices-received index inched up to 9.2.
Looking ahead, firms were “very optimistic” about the six-month outlook, the New York Fed said.
The index for future business conditions climbed 5 points to 49.9, and the index for future new orders rose 9 points to 53.7, a multi-year high.
Employment and the average workweek were expected to increase in the months ahead. The capital-expenditures index gained 4 points to 25.4, and the technology spending index fell 6 points to 10.8.
The New York Fed distributes the Empire State Manufacturing Survey on the first day of each month to the same pool of about 200 manufacturing executives in New York. On average, about 100 executives return responses.