Markit’s flash manufacturing PMI came in at 51.3 for December.
Business conditions improved at the slowest pace since October 2012, and the headline index itself was at the lowest level in just over three years.
Economists had estimated, according to Bloomberg, that Markit’s flash manufacturing PMI was 52.6.
“December data indicated a sharp loss of growth momentum across the U.S. manufacturing sector,” the report said.
“Just as the Fed looks set to hike interest rates for the first time since 2006, the manufacturing sector shows signs of stalling. The flash PMI results show factories ending the year with the weakest inflow of new orders since the global financial crisis.”
Markit Economics’ previous report confirmed that the manufacturing sector was still reeling from the effects of a strong dollar and low oil prices. The sector contracted in five out of the first ten months of the year, indicated by a reading below 50.