October 1, 2015 / 1:50 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. factory activity edges higher in September: Markit

SUVs move through the assembly line at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Stone

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector rose slightly in September but was still at its second-lowest level since Oct. 2013, according to an industry report released on Thursday.

Financial data firm Markit said its final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index inched higher to 53.1 in September from 53.0 in August, which marked the lowest level since Oct. 2013. The September level was also up from a preliminary reading of 53.0.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The index’s employment component fell to 50.8 in September from 52.4 in August, marking its lowest level since June 2013. Output rose, however, to 54.5 after hitting 53.8, its lowest level since Jan. 2014, in August.

“The U.S. manufacturing sector has seen a distinct loss of growth momentum in recent months, endured the worst performance for two years during the third quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

“Headwinds include the rising dollar, weak demand in global markets, a downturn in business investment and financial market jitters,” he added.

Williamson said that the manufacturing slowdown “will be insufficient on its own to deter the Fed from hiking rates later this year, but adds a warning light that the pace of economic growth is set to slow as we move into the final quarter of the year.”

The manufacturing sector Purchasing Managers’ Index is compiled by information services company Markit.

Reporting by Sam Forgione, editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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