The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, taken the first half of each month, indicated manufacturing activity shrank, but at a slightly slower pace than September.
The general business conditions index rose four points to reach minus 6.2.
The new orders index also rose, but not enough to reach positive territory. The index for new business gained five points to reach minus nine.
With zero as the break-even point between contraction and growth, the index measuring the number of employees in manufacturing dropped into the negative, losing five points to minus 1.1.
The index measuring hours worked also weakened, dropping from minus 1.3 to minus 4.3.
As a side question to the monthly report, the New York Fed asked New York businesses if their borrowing needs were stable, growing or shrinking. Twenty-four percent of the respondents indicated they would need to borrow more in 2013 than they did in 2012, while 10 percent indicated their borrowing needs would decline next year.