U.S. manufacturers still treading water, Markit shows

Flash PMI barely changed in March at 51.4, growth remains soft

American manufacturers grew slightly faster in March, but many companies say demand is subdued and some are still trying to work off excess inventories, according to a Markit survey.

The Markit Flash PMI rose a tick to 51.4 this month from a 28-month low of 51.3 in February.

Any number above 50 signals expansion, but manufacturers have been barely treading water for months. The PMI average since the U.S. recovery began in mid-2009 is a much stronger 54.1.

“U.S. factories continue to endure their worst spell for three and a half years,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. “Headwinds include reduced spending by the struggling energy sector,the strength of the dollar, persistent weak global demand and growing uncertainty caused by the looming presidential election.”

The weak performance of the manufacturing sector is likely to weigh on first-quarter growth.

Source: MarketWatch – Published: Mar 22, 2016 10:45 a.m. ET

Richmond Fed U.S. factory index jumps to highest since 2010

A measure of manufacturing activity in the lower U.S. Atlantic region rose in March to its strongest level in nearly six years, recovering from its weakest level in six months, the Richmond Federal Reserve said on Tuesday.

The Richmond Federal Reserve’s composite factory index rose to +22 points in March from -4 in February.

The latest figure reached its highest level since +26 in April 2010.

The Richmond Fed manufacturing index covers activity in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and most of West Virginia.

Source: Markets | Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:31am EDT (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)