Markit Economics’ preliminary manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) for April came in at 50.8.
It was a lower-than-expected reading that marked the weakest improvement in business conditions since September 2009. It also squashes hopes that weakness in the first quarter was just temporary, according to Markit chief economist Chris Williamson.
“With prior months’ survey data pointing to annualized GDP growth of just 0.7% in the first quarter, the deteriorating performance of manufacturing suggests that growth could weaken closer towards stagnation in the second quarter,” Williamson said.
Economists had forecast a flash PMI of 52, according to Bloomberg, up from 51.5 in March.
Manufacturing employment gained at the weakest rate since June 2013. Production levels rose at the slowest pace in the survey’s six-and-a-half-year history. New-businesses growth was the most sluggish so far in 2016.