The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing increased to 51.9 in August from 51.4 a month earlier, the London-based group said today.
A reading above 50 in the purchasing managers’ measure indicates expansion. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists was 51.5. Estimates ranged from 50 to 52.
A slump in Europe and slower growth in China threaten to limit demand for American-made goods. In the U.S., joblessness above 8 percent is restraining consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
A Labor Department report today showed the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits climbed last week to a one-month high. Jobless claims rose by 4,000 to 372,000 in the period ended Aug. 18.
China’s manufacturing may be contracting at a faster pace this month, another report showed. A preliminary reading of 47.8 for a purchasing managers’ index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit compares with July’s final 49.3 figure. If confirmed, it would be the lowest level since November and the 10th month that the reading has been below 50, the longest run in the index’s eight- year history.
Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted for a seventh straight month in August, adding to signs of a deepening economic slump as European leaders struggle to contain the fiscal crisis.
A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries in the 17-nation euro area was little changed at 46.6 after 46.5 in July, Markit said today in an initial estimate.
Regional U.S. manufacturing data for August show the industry is struggling. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index fell to minus 5.9 this month from 7.4 in July, contracting for the first time in 10 months. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s economic index was minus 7.1, the fourth consecutive month of contraction, after minus 12.9 in July.
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.
The gauge of U.S. manufacturing debuted in May. The company surveys purchasing managers in more than 30 countries and regions, including Europe and China.
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