The May US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 56.4, down fractionally from the 56.5 final April figure. Markit's Manufacturing PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.

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

“The US manufacturing sector enjoyed another bumper month in May, though continues to run hot.

“With sales growing faster than production, backlogs of work are accumulating at the fastest rate for nearly four years, which should support further production growth in coming months. Business expectations regarding future production in fact picked up again to one of the highest levels seen over the past three years, adding to signs that strong growth will persist through the summer months.” [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

Read more updates by Jill Mislinksi