Factory activity in New York slowed in early August for the second straight month, and manufacturers in the state cut jobs.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index dropped to a reading of minus 4.2, from 0.55 in July. Any reading above zero points to expansion.

Even so, new orders ticked up slightly and a measure of shipments rose to 9 from 0.7 in the previous month. Those figures suggest the broader index could pick up a bit in the coming months.

U.S. manufacturing has struggled for the past year and a half with a stronger dollar and weak overseas economies that have cut into their exports. Nationwide, factories have shed 30,000 jobs in the past year.