U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in January for the first time in three months, according to the Flash PMI from financial data firm Markit.
Reuters reports that Markit’s preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index dropped to 53.7 for January. The reading for December was 55.0. (A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a figure under 50 indicates contraction).
According to Markit, the flash-January PMI reading, which is based on approximately 85% of usual monthly survey replies, indicated the slowest improvement in overall business conditions for three months.
"Some panel members noted that extreme weather conditions in January had temporarily disrupted output levels," the report said.
The survey showed that the fall could mainly be explained by slower rates of output and new order growth. Output dropped from 57.5 to 53.4 and new orders decreased from 56.1 to 54.1 in January.
Despite the drop, Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said the rate of overall growth remained "reassuringly robust”.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that US retail giant Wal-Mart has created a $10 million fund to support manufacturing in the US. The company has been acting to help the sector for a year and has vowed to buy an additional $50 billion in US-made products over the next decade.