While hardly as followed as the other two key US manufacturing indices, the Mfg ISM and the Chicago PMI, the recently introduced Markit PMI, which comes from the same firm that tracks manufacturing data across the rest of the world, shows that in addition to the sliding job picture in September (and soon October), one other aspect of the US economy that took a big hit in October was manufacturing. As Markit just reported, "the U.S. manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace for a year in October... based on approximately 85% of usual monthly survey replies. The flash PMI index registered 51.1, down from 52.8 in September, and was consistent with only a modest rate of expansion." Not only was this the lowest headline print in one year, and should the drop continue it would be the worst print since 2009, not only was the New Order index had its weakest number in 6 months, but worst of all, the Output index, plunging from 55.3 to 49.5, had its first contrationary print since 2009!
Headline Mfg PMI:
And the suddenly plunging Output index:
The full data table:
Summarizing the atrocious print is Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit said:
“The flash PMI provides the first insight into how business fared against the backdrop of the government shutdown in October, and suggests that the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the crisis hit companies hard. The survey showed the first fall in manufacturing output since the height of the global financial crisis back in September 2009. We can expect GDP growth to have suffered a set-back in the fourth quarter, but it is too early to estimate the extent of the slowdown. It is impossible to disentangle the impact of the shutdown from other factors that might have been at play during the month, so equally impossible to judge the extent to which business might bounce back in November.
“The Fed will be equally unsure of the underlying health of the economy, and will no doubt want to see the economic data stabilise, which could take until the end of the year, before making any firm policy decisions.”
Of course: bullish spin. How else.