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U.S. Services Sector Expands for 36th Consecutive Month in December

January 07, 2013, 07:15 AM
Filed Under: Economy

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in December for the 36th 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 56.1 percent in December, 1.4 percentage points higher than the 54.7 percent registered in November. This indicates continued growth at a slightly faster rate in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index registered 60.3 percent, which is 0.9 percentage point lower than the 61.2 percent reported in November, reflecting growth for the 41st consecutive month. The New Orders Index increased by 1.2 percentage points to 59.3 percent. The Employment Index increased by 6 percentage points to 56.3 percent, indicating growth in employment for the fifth consecutive month at a significantly faster rate. The Prices Index decreased 0.4 percentage point to 56.6 percent, indicating prices increased at a slightly slower rate in December when compared to November. According to the NMI™, 13 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in December. Respondents' comments remain mixed and are mostly positive about business conditions and the economy."

Industry Performance

The 13 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in December — listed in order — are:

  • Information
  • Construction
  • Retail Trade
  • Finance & Insurance
  • Public Administration
  • Other Services
  • Arts, Entertainment & Recreation
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting
  • Mining
  • Real Estate, Rental & Leasing
  • Health Care & Social Assistance
  • Utilities
  • Transportation & Warehousing

The five industries reporting contraction in December are:

  • Accommodation & Food Services
  • Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Educational Services
  • Management of Companies & Support Services

What respondents are saying …

  •  "Although our business activity level is the same as a month ago, it is still higher than normal with plans to continue at that rate for the foreseeable future." (Educational Services)
  • "Business conditions are picking up despite the current economic state and the federal budget issues." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)
  • "Consumer optimism increased; lower gasoline prices lead to higher retail sales." (Public Administration)
  • "The holidays will slow construction some, but overall business remains about 25 percent ahead of last year. Weather has been favorable." (Wholesale Trade)
  • "Due to the extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are seeing our customers shopping later this year." (Retail Trade)
  • "Business has picked up significantly during this last quarter of the year." (Transportation & Warehousing)
  • "Preparing for substantial business due to heavier than normal crop forecast." (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting)

Read the full December 2012 Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

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