The business survey, taken midway through the month, found the diffusion index of manufacturing activity gained eight points to 5.7, climbing above the break even level of zero for the first time in six months.
In the previous two months, the index gained five and six points, respectively.
The component index for new orders added 2 points to reach minus 0.6. The shipments index, which climbed a month earlier, was flat in October, the Fed said.
The index for employment, measuring the number of employees, was down slightly, off 3 points to minus 10.7, hitting its lowest point since September 2009.
In the month, 22 percent of respondents to the Fed's survey indicated the number of employees at their firms was declining while 11 percent indicated their firms were adding employees, the Fed said.