The US economy’s latest mixed bag of data

By Ben Walsh
January 6, 2014

New economic data out today was a bit of mixed bag: Reuters reports that growth in the US services sector slowed in December, while factory activity picked up in November.

The US services sector Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which tracks new business orders, fell to 53 from 53.9 (a reading over 50 indicates expansion). The services sector includes around 70% of the US economy. The US slowdown was consistent with a slight drop globally, as shown in this Reuters chart:

US manufacturing data out today was slightly more positive — though manufacturing makes up a smaller portion of the American economy. New factory orders rose 1.8% in November, and December’s manufacturing PMI came in at 57:

Another positive for the the manufacturing sector was jobs. The index tracking manufacturing employment rose to its highest level since June 2011:

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