Markit Manufacturing PMI: April Grows at Subdued Pace

The April US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 52.8, down from the 53.3 March figure. Today's headline number was at the Markit's Manufacturing PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.

Here is the opening from the latest press release:

The seasonally adjusted Markit final US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) registered 52.8 in April, down from 53.3 in March, to signal the slowest improvement in overall business conditions since September 2016. A fall in the headline PMI largely reflected weaker contributions from output and new business growth in April, which more than offset a slight rebound in job creation. [Press Release]

Here is a snapshot of the series since mid-2012.

Markit Manufacturing PMI

Here is an overlay with the equivalent PMI survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management (see our full article on this series here, note that ).

Markit and ISM Manufacturing PMI

The next chart uses a three-month moving average of the two rather volatile series to facilitate our understanding of the current trend.

Markit and ISM Manufacturing PMI

The two moving-average series began diverging in early 2015. The ISM index dipped into contraction in the third quarter of 2015 but then reversed directions in 2016 to its current level of modest expansion. The Markit series has trended more steadily downward from its interim high early in the second half of 2014. We have seen a decline at the end of 2016 into 2017.