U.S. manufacturing activity growth slowed in September as demand for products declined and firms took on fewer workers, an industry report showed on Monday.
Financial data firm Markit said its “flash,” or preliminary, U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index retreated to 52.8 this month from 53.1 in August. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Output growth accelerated to a six-month high of 55.3 from 52.5, but new order inflows from domestic and overseas customers slowed, suggesting “production growth is likely to weaken in the fourth quarter unless demand picks up again in October,” said Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist.
Firms took a cautious approach to hiring this month. The employment sub-index fell to 51.4, marking the slowest rate of job creation in three months. It stood at 53.1 in August.
The survey suggests growth momentum in the sector may be flagging and “vindicate(s) the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold off on tapering its asset purchases,” Williamson said.
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