May 4, 2016

April 2016 ISM Non-Manufacturing: 55.7 Percent, Up From 54.5 Percent in March

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 6:27 pm

From the Institute for Supply Management earlier today (bolds are mine; most paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in April for the 75th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

… The NMI® registered 55.7 percent in April, 1.2 percentage points higher than the March reading of 54.5 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly faster rate.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 58.8 percent, 1 percentage point lower than the March reading of 59.8 percent, reflecting growth for the 81st consecutive month, at a slower rate in April. The New Orders Index registered 59.9 percent, 3.2 percentage points higher than the reading of 56.7 percent in March.

The Employment Index increased 2.7 percentage points to 53 percent from the March reading of 50.3 percent and indicates growth for the second consecutive month. The Prices Index increased 4.3 percentage points from the March reading of 49.1 percent to 53.4 percent, indicating prices increased in April for the first time in three months.

According to the NMI®, 13 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April. The majority of the respondents’ comments reflect optimism about the business climate and the direction of the economy.


The 13 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in April — listed in order — are: Information; Management of Companies & Support Services; Accommodation & Food Services; Wholesale Trade; Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; Finance & Insurance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Construction; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Public Administration; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Retail Trade. The four industries reporting contraction in April are: Other Services; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; and Educational Services.

The obvious question is how ISM is so positive when non-manufacturing growth per the latest GDP report is probably about an annualized 1 percent (based on a Markit estimate that manufacturing has been contracting at 3 percent).


UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Zero Hedge refers to Markit’s report on services, which tells us that recent news is “consistent with economic growth picking up from the 0.5% seen in the first quarter to a mere 1.0% at the start of the second quarter, suggesting the bounce-back from the weak start to the year is far from impressive.”


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