BERLIN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Slower job creation and weaker demand from abroad dampened growth in Germany's manufacturing sector in January, a survey showed on Monday, in a somewhat sluggish start to the year for Europe's largest economy.
Markit's purchasing manager's index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, fell to 50.9, edging down from a preliminary reading of 51.0 as well as from December's 51.2.
The index held above the 50 line denoting growth but was well below levels seen early last year.
Markit said the rate of job creation slowed to a marginal pace due to reports of rationalisation efforts and a new minimum wage that Germany has introduced.
New orders only rose slightly and survey respondents commented that weak export demand acted as a barrier to stronger growth in overall new business.
New export orders declined marginally after increasing in December, and companies pointed to lower demand from Russian and Asian markets, the survey showed.
Lower oil and energy prices helped push input costs down further in January, with the latest drop the strongest since mid-2009.
"January's PMI results paint a somewhat mixed picture of the health of the German manufacturing economy," Markit economist Oliver Kolodseike said in a statement.
"As lower oil prices are starting to feed through from the factory gate to the consumer, we should hopefully see an uplift in economic growth in coming months," he added.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber and Alexandra Hudson; Editing by; Hugh Lawson