NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector moderated in June for a third month in a row, slipping to its slowest pace since late 2013, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.
Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index declined to 53.4 in June, it lowest since October 2013, from a final May reading of 54. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the June figure would be 54.2.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, whose jobs growth in June picked up for a second straight month to its highest level since November 2014, Markit said.
"While the survey data point to the economy rebounding in the second quarter, the weak PMI number for June raises the possibility that we are seeing a loss of momentum heading into the third quarter," said Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist.
"The slowdown is being led by deteriorating export performance, which many producers in turn linked to a loss of competitiveness caused by the stronger dollar."
The index's flash output component fell to 53.9 from the final May reading of 55.2. The June flash output level was the lowest since January 2014, according to Markit data.
The flash reading of the index measuring new orders edged up in June to 54.5 from May's final 54.3.