The U.S. Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey for December 2018 indicated a slower, albeit still solid improvement in the health of the U.S. manufacturing sector, according to data released by the IHS Markit on Wednesday.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit final U.S. Manufacturing PMI posted 53.8 in December, down from 55.3 in November. The latest headline figure suggested a weaker, but still strong, improvement in operating conditions across the goods producing sector.
Although ending the year with a softer overall expansion, the final quarterly average of 2018 was strong and quicker than that seen in 2017.
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said that the month rounds of a fourth quarter in which manufacturing production was indicated to have risen at only a modest annualized rate of about 1 percent.
"A shift to inventory reduction was highlighted by purchasing activity in the manufacturing sector rising at the weakest rate for one and a half years in December, providing further evidence that companies have become increasingly cautious about spending amid rising uncertainty about the outlook," Williamson said.
IHS Markit is a global company in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide.