Manufacturing Sector Expands In January

Demand Remains Strong

Manufacturing MarketA new report from financial data firm Markit shows that U.S. manufacturing growth continued in January, although at a slightly slower pace than in previous months. For example, the January 53.7 reading on Markit’s U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index represents a dip from December’s 53.9 tally. Additionally, the January performance marked the lowest reading since the same month last year, when harsh winter weather stunted the sector. Nonetheless, any reading above 50 signals an increase in economic activity.

"The slowdown is being led by a weakening inflow of new orders, but the good news is that demand remained strong enough to drive yet another month of robust job creation at factories,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement.

In January, Markit’s employment subindex rose to 53.4, up from December’s reading of 53. The uptick marked the 19th consecutive month of growth in factory employment, the survey showed. The output subindex was another bright spot in the report, rising from 54.7 in December to 55.1 this month. Still, some darker notes were sounded, too. The new orders subindex, while still above 50, reached its lowest level in a year.