The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing decreased to a three-month low of 54.2 in April from 55.7, the London-based group said Thursday.
A reading above 50 for the purchasing managers’ measure indicates expansion. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 55.7, with estimates ranging from 54.5 to 56.4.
“Key to the slowdown was a weakening of export orders, in turn a symptom of the loss of competitiveness arising from the dollar’s strength,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement. “However, while exporters are suffering, domestic demand looks to have remained robust, helping to sustain a reasonably strong production trend.”
The group’s gauge of orders declined to 55.4 this month from 57.2 in March. A measure of factory production dropped to a four-month low.
The Markit index is based on replies from about 85 percent to 90 percent of companies in a poll of more than 600 American manufacturers.