US manufacturing data hits near two-year high

22 February 2013

Output from the US manufacturing sector has increased to its strongest level in nearly two years this month, new data has shown.

Markit's latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) for this key industry has risen to a figure of 55.2 in February - well above the measure's growth threshold of 50 and representative of the highest PMI score since March 2011.

The primary driver behind this upward trend was the continuing improvement experienced by firms in the sector with regard to their new work orders, as even though this was marginally down on January's 32-month peak, it was still boosted by strong demand.

Furthermore, the PMI showed that domestic sales are proving to be manufacturers' most effective area of sales, as export orders declined for the first time in four months.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, commented: "Employment rose in February, but the rate of job creation slowed and remained weaker than policymakers would like to see."

By Asim Shah

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