- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - Manufacturing in New York state expanded in January for the third straight month, as new orders and shipments grew.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that its manufacturing index slipped slightly to 6.5 in January from 7.6 the previous month. Any reading above zero indicates expansion. A gauge of hiring improved but still shows that factories are cutting jobs. And prices paid for raw materials jumped to the highest level since 2014.

The report adds to evidence that manufacturing in the state is growing modestly, but not fast enough to spur any hiring. The dollar has risen in value since the election, cramping factory goods exports. Still, manufacturing firms in the state are optimistic: A measure of expected business conditions in six months nearly matched December’s five-year high.

The figures come after solid improvement manufacturing nationwide. U.S. factory activity rose in December to a two-year high, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers.

U.S. manufacturers have struggled to recover in the past year from the dollar’s rise, weak growth overseas, and a drop in oil prices, which cut into orders for steel pipe and other equipment.

There are signs factories are in better shape as the new year gets underway. Manufacturers added 17,000 jobs in December, though they still shed 45,000 in all of 2016.

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