The bank's monthly report on manufacturing activity showed its index rose slightly, up 5 points to only 2.0 in August, "as the share of firms reporting an increase in activity (35 percent) barely exceeded the share reporting a decrease (33 percent)."
It's also only the third positive index reading for this year, the fed said.
Negative readings represent a contraction of activity, while positive readings indicate growth.
At the same time, the shipments index rose from 6.3 to 8.4. The percentage of firms reporting an increase in shipments (35 percent) was 6 points higher than last month, the bank said.