The article reports:
The Empire State general business conditions index nose-dived to a reading of negative 14.9, from positive 3.9 in July, marking the worst level since April 2009, the New York Fed said. The index, on a scale where any positive number indicates improving conditions, was far worse than the positive 4.5 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll.
The article includes the following chart:
The only good news in this is that the decline may cause the Federal Reserve to delay interest increases for a while.