The Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell 0.6% to 52.8 for September according to a Markit report (link opens a PDF) released today.
An above-50 reading denotes positive change from the previous month, putting September in growth territory, even as the Index hit a three-month low . Analysts had expected a slightly higher 52.9 from August's final 53.1 reading.
This month's "flash" index estimate proved on the spot just over a week ago. The flash estimate is typically based on approximately 85% to 90% of total PMI survey responses each month and is designed to provide an accurate advance indication of the final PMI data. Markit is a global financial information services company.
On a component-by-component basis, growth in new orders slowed from 55.7 to 53.2, while new export orders registered a contraction to 49.0 after August's 52.0. As one positive sign of improving growth, output made a solid 2.8-point gain to 55.3.
Chief economist Chris Williamson was quoted in the press release as saying:
The final PMI data confirm the message from the earlier flash reading, namely that the U.S. manufacturing sector is barely growing. ... Of particular concern is a renewed decline in new export orders, which highlights how global demand remains frustratingly subdued. Manufacturers themselves are battening down the hatches, cutting back on employment wherever possible to boost productivity. Job creation could well stall altogether unless demand picks up again. Policymakers at the Fed will surely want to see the economy faring far better than these data are suggesting before countenancing any cuts to the stimulus.
The ISM Manufacturing Index, another prominent manufacturing indicator, suggests a slightly more upbeat September in a report released today showing economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the fourth consecutive month. ISM said its manufacturing index rose in September to 56.2, the highest since April 2011.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.