The Markit Economics flash manufacturing purchasing managers index for the U.S. fell to a 54.7 reading in November from 55.9 in October. This is the third straight monthly decline in the index, which is similar in design to the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index. The index is now at its lowest level since January although any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit said that export market weakness was the "key" behind the recent slowdown. Manufacturers reported the largest drop in export orders for nearly one and a half years, he said.
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