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US manufacturing activity drops to 21-month low

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Staff Writer |
US factory
America   The services PMI fell to 54.8 this month from 56.0 in February

Activity in the US manufacturing sector hit a 21-month low in March, according to preliminary data.

IHS Markit's flash manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 52.5 from 53.0 in February, missing expectations for a reading of 53.6.

Softer business activity growth reflected more subdued demand conditions, with new work rising at the weakest pace since April 2017. A number of firms cited cautious spending patterns among clients and less upbeat business sentiment.

Meanwhile, the services PMI fell to 54.8 this month from 56.0 in February, versus expectations for an unchanged reading.

The composite index - which measures activity in both sectors - declined to 54.3 in March from 55.5 the month before, undershooting forecasts of 55.2.

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