US manufacturing growth still weak, surveys show

Worker at Ford factory Falls in exports are holding back US manufacturing growth

US manufacturing growth remained sluggish in August amid falling exports and weak employment, according to two closely-watched surveys.

The Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was 51.5 last month, a notch higher than 51.4 in July.

A similar index by the Institute for Supply Management showed a small contraction, with a score just under 50.

A score above 50 indicates growth, and below contraction.

Both surveys pointed to a slowdown in new orders due to weak demand for US products and as businesses hired less employees.

Mark Wingham, an economist at Markit, said: "If the PMI does not pick up substantially in September, third quarter manufacturing growth will likely be one of the weakest since the recovery began.

"US manufacturers took a more cautious approach towards hiring more staff in August, with the rate of job creation the slowest since December 2010," he added.

Latest US jobs data is due to be released later this week, and economists forecast 120,000 jobs were created in August down from 163,000 in July. The US economy grew by 1.7% in the second quarter.

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