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The service sector shows growth

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(Read caption) This chart shows the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index over the past five years. Numbers improved in January but declined on a year over year basis.

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Yesterday, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business indicating that service related business activity improved throughout February with the business activity component climbing notably while the overall non-manufacturing index increased to 57.3 from 56.8 in January.

At 62.6 the business activity index increased 5.21% since January but remained 6.43% below the level seen a year earlier.

Like releases of prior months, non-manufacturing sector respondents are seeing some signs of improvement but the overall outlook is still fairly mixed:
"Year-over-year and month-over-month growth continues. Market conditions improved dramatically." (Information)

"Although customer traffic continues to decline, discretionary spending per capita is increasing. There is a bit more confidence regarding current economic conditions, spurring on slightly more aggressive marketing to capture new customers and encourage repeat visits." (Arts, Entertainment & Recreation)
"Business is generally flat, but showing signs of improvement." (Health Care & Social Assistance)

"Bracing for impact of fuel price increases on delivered commodity prices." (Educational Services)

"Optimism is all around, but sales remain sluggish. Activity shows interest, but market [is] very price sensitive." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)

"Signs are building that things are starting to settle and business is stabilizing. Although orders aren't increasing rapidly, they are steady and consistent instead of the radical swings of the past two years. We hope that this trend will continue." (Retail Trade)

"Demand [is] gradually increasing for most business sectors." (Wholesale Trade)

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