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U.S. manufacturing growth slows in January: Markit

Workers assemble built-in appliances at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Berry
Workers assemble built-in appliances at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Berry

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing grew less briskly in January after hitting an 11-month high the prior month as output and overseas demand slowed, an industry report showed on Thursday.

Financial data firm Markit said its final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell to 53.7 in January, matching an advance reading earlier in the month. The index hit an 11-month high of 55.0 in December. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Output fell to 53.5, a four-month low, from 57.5. Some firms attributed the slower pace of growth to the extremely cold weather in large swaths of the country.

New export orders meanwhile declined for the first time since October.

Firms took on new workers, however, for the seventh straight month, though the pace of hiring eased slightly, with the sub-index dropping to 53.2 from 54.0.

"The rate of job creation remained solid and was only slightly less marked than December's recent high," Markit said in a statement. "Panel members attributed increased workforce numbers to rising production requirements."

(Reporting By Steven C. Johnson; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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