Manufacturing growth at New York State factories ticked up in February, exceeding expectations, but the number of employees dropped, the New York Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

The N.Y. Fed's "Empire State" index showed overall conditions for manufacturers rose slightly to 20.31 from 20.12 in January, above economists' forecasts for 18.30, according to a Reuters survey.

The employment component of the index, however, fell to 5.19 in February from 11.29 in January. The average employee workweek index also declined, to 4.69 this month from 11.71 in January.