Business

US manufacturing growth still weak, PMI survey shows

  • 23 August 2012
  • From the section Business
Worker at Ford factory
Falls in exports are holding back US manufacturing growth

US manufacturing growth remained weak in August, according to a closely-watched survey.

The Markit flash US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.9 in August, up from 51.4 in July, its third lowest reading in 35 months.

A score above 50 indicates expansion.

However, growth in output and new orders remained weak, and employment levels rose at the slowest rate since December 2010, Markit said.

Despite the continued weakness, manufacturing production has grown for 35 months in a row and new domestic orders were also up in August.

Militating against this, new export orders fell again for the third consecutive month, reflecting continuing poor economic conditions in the eurozone.

Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit, said: "Although the latest survey data pointed to a slightly better performance than that registered in July, it nonetheless suggested that manufacturing continued to take a hit from weak economic conditions in key export markets.

"Higher domestic new orders, in part due to increased marketing and lower selling prices, was partly offset by a further reduction in new export work."

Earlier, Markit's PMI reading for the composite index, which measures new orders in manufacturing and services, recorded 46.6 this month, compared with 46.5 in July.

Markit said that, taken together, the July and August PMI readings would be consistent with eurozone GDP falling by about 0.5%-0.6% in the third quarter, which would push the region back into recession.

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