The Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell 1.1% to 53.1 for August, according to a Markit final report (link opens a PDF) released today. 

An above-50 reading denotes positive change from the previous month, however, the August number showed slower growth than the number the previous month. Analysts had expected a slight increase to 53.9 from July's final 53.7 reading.

The earlier "flash" estimate of the August number had clocked in at 53.9. 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.

The number released today is based on "final data" and Markit says it is "consistent with a moderate improvement in overall manufacturing business conditions."

On a component-by-component basis, employment expanded at a slightly faster rate than the previous month, moving up 0.1 percentage points to 53.1. The important metric measuring new orders added on 0.2 points to 55.7, while output growth slowed 2.3 points to a 10-month low . Inventories also took a dip as work backlogs shifted from expansion in July (52.6) to contraction in August (49.6). 

Chief economist Chris Williamson was quoted as saying that "despite these encouraging signs, the survey is still consistent with only very modest growth of factory output and hiring, suggesting policymakers will remain nervous about the on-going fragility of the economy."