Manufacturing closed out its weakest quarter in three years this month and the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits held near two-month highs last week, suggesting the economic recovery is failing to gain traction.
Financial information firm Markit said its U.S. “flash”, or preliminary, manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index stood at 51.5 in September, unchanged from August. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The index averaged 51.5 in the third quarter, below the 54.2 registered between April and June, for its worst showing since the third quarter of 2009. At 51.2, the output component was the lowest since September 2009.
“With output growing at the slowest pace since the recovery began, the manufacturing sector may have even acted as a slight drag on the economy in the third quarter,” Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said.
After growing at a 1.7 percent annual pace between April and June, the economy likely slipped “closer towards stagnation” between July and September, he added.
A separate report from the U.S. Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment aid edged down just 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 last week
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