WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing activity in New York slowed in early July after a big gain in the previous month.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index slowed to a reading of 0.55 in July after a reading of 6.01 in June. Any reading above zero points to expansion.

The weaker July reading reflected in part a big drop in new orders to factories in New York state. That index showed a minus 1.82 reading after a reading of 10.90 in June.

Nationwide manufacturing over the past year has struggled as a weak global economy has dampened demand for U.S. exports and the strong dollar has made American goods more expensive on overseas markets.

[STORY BY: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]