The Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) edged up 0.5% to 55 for December, according to a Markit report (link opens a PDF) released today. The report says the PMI is at an 11-month high, "indicating solid improvement in business conditions."   

An above-50 reading denotes positive change from the previous month, putting this month's report in growth territory. Analysts had expected a 54.5 reading, in line with November's 54.7 score. 

This latest reading also came in stronger than Markit's flash index of 54.4 two weeks 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.

On a component-by-component basis, new orders remained strong, dipping 0.1 points to 56.1. Output added on 0.1 points to hit 57.5, while employment grew significantly from 52.3 in November to 54.0 this past month. 

Chief economist Chris Williamson was quoted as saying:

The upturn in the PMI in December rounds off one of the strongest quarters for manufacturing since the economy pulled out of recession. The goods producing sector is therefore on course to provide a firm boost to the economy in the fourth quarter, which we expect to see growing at an annualised pace of at least 3%.