The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Monday that that its Empire State manufacturing index slipped to 6.9 in March from a reading of 7.8 in February.
The survey adds to signs that factory output may be slowing after solid gains for much of last year. The rising value of the dollar has hurt exports by making American-made goods more expensive in overseas markets.
While orders and shipments were lacklustre, labour markets showed promising strength, with solid gains in employment levels and a longer average workweek. Pricing pressures remained muted, with the index of prices manufacturers paid for materials down two points to 12.4.
The New York Fed's Empire State survey provides an early look at U.S. manufacturing each month. The New York Fed surveys 200 businesses in the state and typically receives responses from about 100.