Business activity in New York, which has the third-biggest economy among the US states after California and Texas, posted a stronger-than-expected gain in July’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey that pushed the measure into positive territory.

The print from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rose 13 points to 4.3, beating expectations on Econoday for a reading of just 0.8.

“After declining substantially last month, the general business conditions index returned to positive territory,” the New York Fed said on Monday. “Thirty percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 26% reported that conditioned had worsened.”

New orders firmed but stayed negative with a print of minus 1.5 from negative 12 in June, while shipments slowed by 2.5 points to a reading of 7.2. Unfilled orders were negative 5.1 in July from minus 15.8 in June.

“The employment index remained negative, falling to its lowest level in nearly three years,” the Fed bank said. “Input price increases continued to moderate somewhat, while the pace of selling price increases remained modest.”

Looking ahead six months, the general business conditions index rose 5.1 points to 30.8 and the measure for future new orders rose 7.6 points to 35.4. Views for future shipments were little changed at 29.5 from 29.2 in June and unfilled orders recovered from a negative 4.5 print last month to a flat reading for July.