Markit Manufacturing PMI: December Saw Strongest Manufacturing Since 2015

The December US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 55.1, up from the 53.9 final November figure. Today's headline number was slightly above the Investing.com forecast of 55.0. 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 Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit in their latest press release:

"US manufacturers ended 2017 on a high. Output growth accelerated to its fastest since the start of the year on the back of a marked upswing in demand as the year came to a close."

"Prospects for the upturn also look good. With business optimism about the year ahead running at its highest for two years in the closing months of 2017, companies are clearly expecting to be busier in 2018." [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 diverged again in 2017. The ISM index expanded through most of 2016, and has continued this expansion despite a small decline in early 2017. The Markit series has trended more steadily downward from its interim high early in the second half of 2014.