Markit Economics’ preliminary survey of US manufacturers shows a result stronger than any other in nearly four years.
Reuters reports that the flash PMI for February, based on about 85 per cent of the respondents in the final PMI, gave an overall result of 56.7.
Any result above 50 indicates growth. 56.7 easily outstrips the final result for January 53.7.
Paul Zemsky from ING Investment Management said the result was good, but should be viewed critically.
“The U.S. (Markit) PMI number was probably not as good as it seems, there could be some noise there, but it certainly is a good number,” he told Reuters.
The new orders category was particularly robust in the flash PMI, scoring 58.8, its highest point since May 2010.
"The flash manufacturing PMI provides the first indications that production has rebounded from the weather-related slowdown seen in January," Chris Williamson, Markit’schief economist, said.
"Further growth looks likely in coming months, suggesting the underlying health of the economy remains robust."
The flash PMI compares favourably to China’s preliminary PMI result (tracked by HSBC) forthe month, which suggests China’s manufacturing sector is in contraction and at its weakest point in seven months.