U.S. manufacturing index heads higher

Nov. 21, 2013 at 11:26 AM

NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- An index of U.S. manufacturing activity showed growth climbing to an eight-month high in November, Markit Economics said Thursday.

The economic research firm said its flash estimate for manufacturing rose to 54.3 in November, up from October's 51.8 level, which was a one-year low.

The flash index could be revised. It is based on 85 percent of the data that goes into the final report.

Markit said the new orders index climbed from 52.7 in October to 54.9. The index measuring new export orders rose from 51.3 to 52.6.

The employment index remained positive -- above 50 indicates growth -- but shows a slowdown from October with the index dropping to 52.2 from 52.7.

"The flash PMI suggests that the manufacturing economy continues to expand at a reasonable but unspectacular rate," said Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson in a statement.

"The recent index readings are consistent with manufacturing output growing 0.6% in the fourth quarter -- equivalent to an annualised rate of 2.3 percent," Williamson said.

"However, even this pace of expansion is barely generating any employment growth, with the survey

consistent with manufacturing payrolls rising by only 1,000 in November," he added.

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