The February US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 55.3, down from the 55.5 final January figure. Today's headline number was below the forecast of 55.9. Markit's Manufacturing PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.

Here is the an excerpt from Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit in their latest press release:

“US factories are enjoying one of the best growth spells seen since 2014, boding well for the sector to make a solid contribution to GDP in the first quarter."

“The survey’s output index readings for the first two months of 2018 are indicative of the sector growing at an annualised rate of just under 3%.” [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