Manufacturing activity in the New York region in October fell to the slowest pace of growth since May, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. According to the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the general business conditions index for October dropped to 1.5 from September\' s 6.3, largely missing analysts\' expectations of 7.0. Readings above zero signal expansion. The new orders index rose five points to 7.8 and the shipments index fell three points to 13.1, suggesting that both orders and shipments increased modestly over the month. Labor market conditions held steady. The survey showed that the index for number of employees fell for a second consecutive month, but was slightly positive at 3.6. Meanwhile, the average workweek index also held above zero at 3.6. Moreover, indexes for the six-month outlook generally conveyed strong optimism about future business conditions. The future general business conditions index held near last month\' s year-and-a-half high at 40.8. And the indexes for expected new orders and expected shipments also remained at strong levels. The Empire State manufacturing index closely watches manufacturing activity in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducts the survey monthly and participants represent a variety of industries.