The New York Federal Reserve said general business conditions expanded in February for the third consecutive month in the Empire State. The New York Fed\'s index for general business conditions climbed six points to 19.5 with the critical new orders index sliding slightly from 13.7 to 9.7. In the survey taken in the first half of each month, numbers below zero indicate a contraction in business activity. Numbers above zero indicate growth. The index covering the number of employees remained positive at 11.8, while the index concerning the number of hours worked came in at 7.1. Looking ahead, \"substantially more respondents indicted that they planned increases (46 percent) than reductions (25 percent) in overall capital spending,\" the Fed said.