WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturing in New York state expanded for a fifth straight month in March. But the pace was slightly slower than in February, when activity had climbed to the highest point in more than two years.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index in March stood at 16.4, down slightly from the two-year high of 18.7 reached in February.

The report said that the index for new orders climbed to its highest level in several years, pointing to a substantial increase in orders. The index for unfilled orders jumped to the highest point in a decade.

The regional manufacturing survey for New York added to recent evidence that U.S. manufacturing is recovering after nearly two years of mostly flat output.

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