Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary
U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index dipped to 53.7 from
December's reading of 55.0. Economists polled by Reuters
expected no change.
Slower rates of output and new order growth were the main
factors behind the fall, the survey showed. Output slipped to
53.4 from 57.5 while new orders fell to 54.1 from 56.1.
Even so, the rate of overall growth remained "reassuringly
robust," according to Markit chief economist Chris Williamson,
who added that output growth of around 2 percent per quarter was
generating about 10,000 new manufacturing jobs a month.
A reading above 50 in the main index or the sub indexes
indicates expansion. The pace of growth started to quicken in
the middle of 2013, hitting a 10-month high in November.
Williamson said the survey suggested a dip in U.S. payrolls in
December was likely a "temporary blip.
Markit's "flash" reading is based on replies from about 85
percent of the U.S. manufacturers surveyed. A final reading will
be released on the first business day of February.
(Reporting by Steven C. Johnson;
editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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