Empire State index tumbles to recession-era levels

A reading of New York-area manufacturing conditions fell swiftly and brutally in August, one that could make the likelihood of an interest-rate hike next month — or even this year — more remote.

The Empire State general business conditions index nose-dived to a reading of negative 14.9, from positive 3.9 in July, marking the worst level since April 2009, the New York Fed said. The index, on a scale where any positive number indicates improving conditions, was far worse than the positive 4.5 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll. Continue reading