(Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing growth sputtered in May, measuring its weakest pace of activity in nearly a decade and new orders fell for the first time since August 2009 as the U.S.-China trade war intensified, data from IHS Markit showed on Thursday.
In its “flash” Purchasing Managers Index for May, Markit said its U.S. Manufacturing PMI declined to 50.6 from a final reading of 52.6 in April, marking the lowest level since September 2009. Wall Street economists polled by Reuters had a consensus forecast of 52.5.
A reading above 50 indicates growth.
The weakness in manufacturing was mirrored to a large degree in the services sector, where Markit’s flash Services Business Activity Index dropped to 50.9 this month from 53.0 in April, the lowest since February 2016. Economists had forecast a reading of 53.2.
The combined softness in the two readings brought Markit’s overall U.S. Composite Output Index to 50.9, the lowest since March 2016, from 53.0 last month.
“Growth of business activity slowed sharply in May as trade war worries and increased uncertainty dealt a further blow to order book growth and business confidence,” IHS Markit Chief Business Economist Chris Williamson said in a statement.
Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama