Market news

23 October 2020

U.S. private sector business activity continues to grow in October - IHS Markit's survey

Preliminary data released by IHS Markit on Friday pointed to further solid growth in business activity during October, at the fastest pace for 20 months.

According to the report, the Markit flash manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) came in at 53.3 in October, up marginally from 53.2 in September. That was the highest reading since January 2019. Economists had expected the reading to edge up to 53.4. A reading above 50 signals an expansion in activity, while a reading below this level signals a contraction. The upturn was underpinned by accelerated expansion in new orders, which was the sharpest since January 2019, while, production growth slowed.

Meanwhile, the Markit flash services purchasing manager's index (PMI) rose to 56.0 in October from 54.6 in the previous month. The latest reading indicated the sharpest expansion in business activity since February 2019. Economists had expected the reading to remain at 54.6. Output increased, while business growth softened amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and a slower expansion of new export business, and employment growth dipped to a three-month low.

Overall, IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index came in at 55.5 in October, up from 54.3 in September, signaling the fastest increase in the private sector business activity since February 2019.

“The US economy looks to have started the fourth quarter on a strong footing, with business activity growing at a rate not seen since early 2019,” Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at HIS Markit noted. “The service sector led the expansion as increasing numbers of companies adapted to life with COVID19, while manufacturing continued to report solid growth amid rising demand from households and businesses.”

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