The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) signaled further expansion of the U.S. manufacturing sector in February, although the rate of growth slowed slightly on January’s nine-month peak. At 55.2, down from 55.8, the ‘flash’ PMI reading, which is based on around 85% of usual monthly replies, continued to suggest a strong improvement in overall manufacturing business conditions.
Manufacturers reported the sharpest rise in output for almost two years in February. The rate of growth was strong and faster than the series average.
Incoming new work received by manufacturers also rose strongly during February. However, the rate of increase eased from January’s 32-month peak. Firms generally commented on greater client demand, partly linked to improving market conditions.
The increase in total new orders largely reflected higher domestic sales, as new export work fell over the month. Although this was the first reduction in new export orders in four months, the rate of decline was only modest.