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ISM: U.S. Service Sector Expansion Slowed in March

April 05, 2012, 08:00 AM
Filed Under: Economy

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in March for the 27th consecutive month, say the nation's purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, C.P.M., CFPM, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The NMI registered 56% in March, 1.3% lower than the 57.3 % registered in February, and indicating continued growth at a slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index registered 58.9%, which is 3.7% lower than the 62.6% reported in February, reflecting growth for the 32nd consecutive month.  The New Orders Index decreased by 2.4% to 58.8%, and the Employment Index increased by 1% to 56.7%, indicating continued growth in employment at a slightly faster rate. Respondents' comments remain mostly optimistic about business conditions. They indicate that increased discretionary spending reflects the increased confidence level of businesses and consumers. There is continued concern about cost pressures and the instability of fuel prices."

According to the NMI, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in March. The 16 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in March — listed in order — are:

  • Arts, Entertainment & Recreation
  • Management of Companies & Support Services
  • Accommodation & Food Services
  • Construction
  • Other Services
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Finance & Insurance
  • Information
  • Public Administration
  • Health Care & Social Assistance
  • Utilities
  • Real Estate, Rental & Leasing
  • Retail Trade
  • Educational Services
  • Professional, Scientific & Technical Service
  • Transportation & Warehousing

The two industries reporting contraction in March are:

  • Mining
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

To read the full Institute for Supply Management report, click here.

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