The U.S. manufacturing sector grew at its slowest rate for a year in October, according to the final Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing
Managers’ Index™ (PMI™). At 51.8, down from 52.8 in September, but above the earlier flash estimate of 51.1, the PMI suggested that the rate of
expansion was only modest.
A sharp easing in the rate of output growth was the main factor behind the lower PMI reading compared with September. Production rose marginally in October – after the earlier flash reading suggested a
slight reduction – with the rate of growth the joint weakest since September 2009.
Manufacturers linked the slight increase in output primarily to a weaker rise in new orders. Total incoming new work rose modestly and at the
slowest pace in six months in October. Panellists commented on greater client demand in both the domestic and international markets. Nevertheless, a marginal increase in new export orders merely reversed a decline in September.
Reflective of the weak trend for new orders, the quantity of inputs bought by manufacturing companies fell for the first time in almost three years
in October. This was accompanied by the sharpest depletion of stocks of purchases since September 2009. Concurrently, suppliers’ delivery times continued to lengthen, with the latest increase in lead times the greatest for a year-and-a-half.
Manufacturing employment in the U.S. rose for the fourth consecutive month in October. Overall, the rate of job creation accelerated to a moderate pace, but was nonetheless weaker than at the start of the
Input costs faced by manufacturers rose at a strong and accelerated pace in October. However, the rate of inflation remained weaker than the series average. Firms passed on greater costs to clients by raising their selling prices. The latest increase in output charges was the largest in 2013 to date.