Markit Index of Manufacturing in U.S. Fell to 53.7 in January

The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing decreased to 53.7 in January from 55 a month earlier, the London-based group said today.

A reading above 50 for the purchasing managers’ measure indicates expansion. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 21 economists was 55, with estimates ranging from 54 to 56.

The Markit measure is based on replies from about 85 percent to 90 percent of companies in a poll of more than 600 American manufacturers.

Other reports today showed euro-area factory output expanded faster than economists forecast in January and a gauge in China signaled a surprise drop in manufacturing, highlighting the uneven nature of the global recovery.

A euro-area manufacturing index increased to 53.9 from 52.7 in December, Markit Economics said in a statement today. That exceeded the median estimate of 53 in a Bloomberg News survey of 39 economists. A Chinese gauge dropped to 49.6 from 50.5, weaker than even the most pessimistic forecast in a survey. A number below 50 indicates contraction.

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