Markit Index of Manufacturing in U.S. Held at 51.5 in September

The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing held at 51.5 in September from a month earlier, the London-based group said today.

A reading of 50 in the purchasing managers’ measure is the dividing line between expansion and contraction. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 51.5. Estimates ranged from 50 to 52.

The slowdown in global markets is keeping businesses from placing more orders, limiting production. Weaker consumer spending in the face of unemployment exceeding 8 percent and the looming fiscal U.S. cliff of tax and government spending changes are also dimming the outlook for U.S. manufacturing.

A Chinese manufacturing survey today pointed to an 11th month of contraction, supporting the case for increased stimulus as Asia’s growth slows. The preliminary reading was 47.8 for a China purchasing managers’ index by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit, compared with a final level of 47.6 last month.

Euro-area services and manufacturing output fell to a 39- month low in September as European leaders struggled to reverse the single-currency bloc’s slide into recession.

A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries in the 17-nation euro area dropped to 45.9 from 46.3 in August, Markit said.

The Markit gauge of U.S. manufacturing debuted in May. The company surveys purchasing managers in more than 30 countries and regions, including Europe and China.

Markit’s preliminary purchasers figure is based on replies from about 85 percent to 90 percent of those American manufacturers who respond to the poll of the more than 600 companies surveyed.

Industrial production unexpectedly fell in August by the most since March 2009, a report from the Federal Reserve showed on Sept. 14.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz in Washington at

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