Markit Manufacturing Index in U.S. Decreases to 56.3 From 57.3

The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly fell to 56.3 in July from a four-year high of 57.3 as orders and factory employment cooled, the London-based group said today.

Readings exceeding 50 in the purchasing managers’ gauge indicate expansion. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 57.5, with estimates ranging from 56 to 59.

The group’s measure of employment decreased to 52.1, the lowest since September, from 54 in June. Orders eased from the fastest pace since April 2010.

“U.S. manufacturers are enjoying a summer of scorching growth,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement. “The growth rebound that the survey has signaled for the second quarter therefore looks to have been sustained into the third quarter.”

The Markit measure is based on a poll of more than 600 American manufacturers, with a response rate of 85 percent to 90 percent.

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