Here’s What Thursday’s PMI Reports Say About the Economy

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“U.S. manufacturers reported the largest monthly rise in production for almost two years in February, suggesting that the economy is set to rebound from the weak patch seen late last year and allaying fears of a double-dip recession,” commented Markit chief economist Chris Williamson. The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index edged lower, from January’s nine-month peak of 55.8 to 55.2 in February.

The flash reading is based on about 85 percent of total monthly replies, and is used as a timely indication of economic activity for the month. February’s reading indicates expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector, although at a slightly slower rate than January. Notable index components that fell month to month include New Orders, which fell from 57.4 to 56.4, and Employment, which dropped from 55.6 to 54.1. Both components still showed growth, but again, at a slower rate than in January.

Major components that grew month to month include Output, increasing from 56.8 to 58.1, and Output Prices, rising from 53.3 to 54.2. Unfortunately, healthy manufacturing data hasn’t been able to outweigh other, underwhelming economic indicators and bad news out of Europe…

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