December Jobs "Significantly Below 200,000", Q4 GDP Tumbles To 2%, Markit Warns

Markit's US Services PMI missed expectations of 53.7, priting at 53.3, its lowest since Feb 2014 (mid Polar Vortex). From record highs in June, PMI has plunged non-stop for six months leaving Markit noting Q4 growth is looking more like 2.0% than the 5.0% exuberance in Q3.

US Services PMI plunges...

 

and along with the tumble in manufacturing leaves the US Composite PMI at 14 month lows...

 

It gets worse. From the report, via Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit said:

“The US economy lost significant growth momentum at the close of the year. Excluding the drop in activity caused by the October 2013 government shutdown, the manufacturing and service sector PMIs collectively signalled the weakest expansion since the end of 2012. This is also not just a one-month wobble: the pace of growth has now slowed for six consecutive months.

“The PMI surveys act as good leading indicators of GDP data, and suggest that the pace of US economic growth will have slowed in the fourth quarter. According to the PMIs, fourth quarter growth is looking more like 2.0% rather than the 5.0% annualised rate of expansion enjoyed in the third quarter.

“Job creation has waned alongside the slowdown, with the survey indicating that monthly payroll growth has slipped significantly below the 200,000 mark. Companies have become increasingly reluctant to take on staff due to the cloudier economic outlook, in turn linked to various factors ranging from global geopolitical concerns, worries about higher interest rates and uncertainty about rising staff healthcare costs.

“However, it’s important to note that growth is merely slowing from an unusually powerful rate rather than stalling. Lower oil and fuel prices should also help foster stronger economic growth as we move into 2015, by reducing the fuel bills of households and companies. Measured across both sectors, input costs showed the smallest rise since April 2013 in December. Lower prices will also of course provide added leeway for interest rates to remain on hold for longer.”