The pace of U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated in March, a research firm confirmed Monday.
Markit Economics said the manufacturing sector's Purchasing Managers Flash Index rose from 54.3 in February to 54.6 in March, which indicates faster growth, albeit with slimmer gains than were reported in firm's flash estimate report, which had pegged the PMI at 54.9.
The flash estimate is based on 85 percent of the usual monthly survey replies. The numbers firm up or adjust with the second and final estimate.
Markit said the index for new factory orders was unchanged from February's 55.4. The earlier estimate had put the new orders growth measure at 55.9.
The employment index was left unchanged at 54.6. The index reflecting a backlog of work was slightly higher than previously reported at 50.2.
Growth is indicated by any figure more than 50 in the report. Less than 50 indicates contraction.
"Manufacturers enjoyed another month of strong output and order book growth in March, finishing off the best quarter for two years. The sector will have provided a firm boost to the economy in the first quarter, with output possibly growing by as much as 2 percent -- roughly 8 percent on an annual basis -- compared to the final quarter of last year. ," said Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson.
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