The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said today that its gauge of manufacturing in New York state perked up in July after a sharp drop off the month before, though new orders shrank, Reuters reported. The New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index rose to 7.39 from 2.29 in June, topping economists' expectations. New orders contracted to minus 2.69, the lowest level since September 2011, from 2.18. Employment gauges were mixed, with the index for the number of employees rising to 18.52 from 12.37 and the average employee workweek index falling to zero from 3.09. The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.