Canada manufacturing growth dips in February; employment at 6-month high: Markit

FILE PHOTO: Workers on automated systems at the Hudson's Bay Company distribution centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 29, 2017. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill/File Photo

OTTAWA, (Reuters) - The pace of growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector eased modestly in February as new orders dipped, though the measure of employment rose to the highest level in six months, data showed on Thursday.

The Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, declined to a seasonally adjusted 55.6 last month from 55.9 in January.

A reading above 50 shows growth in the sector.

New orders edged down to 55.6 from 56.4. But new export orders rose to 54.4 from 53.3, the highest level since November 2014, helped by increased sales to U.S. clients.

Companies also faced greater backlogs of work, with the measure rising to 55.0 from 53.7, its highest level since the survey began in 2010. Some firms pointed to bottlenecks in the supply chain, as well as greater workloads.

The need to boost capacity lifted the gauge of employment to 56.0 from 55.9. Canada’s labor market was robust last year, but economists expect the gains will moderate in 2018.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama