New York manufacturing grows, but unease remains among factory executives The nascent economic recovery in the U.S. has been fueled largely by manufacturing, many analysts contend. The newest manufacturing reports out of the New York region corroborated those assertions as they show manufacturing grew in February.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's general economic index climbed from 11.9 in January to 15.4 this month - beating the median forecast of economists that called for a rise to 15. The index covers New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, with a reading above zero indicating expansion.

Manufacturers stand to benefit from an uptick in investment from businesses and rising exports; the growth in consumer spending could also spur further activity in the sector, Bloomberg reports. Paul Ashworth, the chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said manufacturing continues to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy.

"Manufacturing has accelerated strongly out of the final months of last year and started 2011 with quite a bit of momentum behind it," he affirmed. "We've still got some strong growth globally that’s helping manufacturing exporters."

Nonetheless, factory executives in the New York Fed's district were decidedly less optimistic about the future: The survey found that their outlook on what condition the economy will be in six months from now fell to 49.4 from 59.  
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