U.S. private sector output growth saw a slowdown in March, according to data released by the IHS Markit last Friday.
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At 54.3 in March, down from 55.5 in February, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Output Index pointed to the weakest upturn in private sector business activity since September 2018.
Softer business activity growth reflected more subdued demand conditions in March, with new work rising at the weakest pace since April 2017.
The composite index is based on original survey data from the IHS Markit U.S. Services PMI and the IHS Markit U.S. Manufacturing PMI.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Services PMI Business Activity Index posted 54.8 in March, down from February’s seven-month high of 56.0. The latest reading was still well above the neutral 50.0 value and signaled a solid overall upturn in business activity across the service economy.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI registered 52.5, down from 53.0 in February and the lowest reading since June 2017.
Softer rises in output, new orders and employment all weighed on the headline PMI in March and the manufacturing companies indicated a particularly weak improvement in business conditions during March.
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at HIS Markit, said the survey is consistent with the official measure of manufacturing production falling at an increased rate in March and hence acting as a drag on the economy in the first quarter.
However, Williamson said that the PMI survey data “remain encouragingly resilient, indicative of the economy growing at an annualized rate in excess of 2 percent in the first quarter, suggesting some potential upside to many current growth forecasts.” (China Daily/Xinhua)