U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in March after nearing a four-year high last month, but the rate of growth and the pace of hiring remained strong, an industry report showed on Monday.
Financial data firm Markit said its "flash" or preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 55.5 from 57.1 in February. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
That fell short of economists' expected reading of 56.5 but was still comfortably ahead of 53.7 in January, suggesting the effects of a harsh winter have started to fade.
(Read more: Gartman: Here's how you disarm Russian economy)
The new orders component fell to 58.0 from 59.6 in February, partly the result of a decline in overseas demand, Markit said.
Output edged down to 57.5 from 57.8 while firms took on workers for a ninth consecutive month.