Manufacturing activity picks up in March

The flash reading on manufacturing activity from Markit Economics came in at 55.3, up from 55.1 at the end of February and beating expectations for a reading of 54.6.

Any reading over 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector while readings below 50 indicate contraction.

In a release, Markit Economics said, “U.S. manufacturers indicated a strong end to the first quarter of 2015, with output, new business, and employment all rising at an accelerated pace in March.”

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said following the release: “Manufacturing regained further momentum from the slowdown seen at the turn of the year … While economic growth looks set to disappoint again in the first quarter, with GDP set to rise by a rate perhaps slightly below the 2.2% expansion seen in the fourth quarter of last year, the upturn in order books in particular gives some reassurance that the pace of economic growth is likely to pick up as we move towards the summer.”

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