Wednesday, April 04, 2012

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index indicates slower expansion in March

by Bill McBride on 4/04/2012 10:00:00 AM

The March ISM Non-manufacturing index was at 56.0%, down from 57.3% in February. The employment index increased in March to 56.7%, up from 55.7% in February. Note: Above 50 indicates expansion, below 50 contraction.

From the Institute for Supply Management: March 2012 Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®

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 percent in March, 1.3 percentage points lower than the 57.3 percent 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 percent, which is 3.7 percentage points lower than the 62.6 percent reported in February, reflecting growth for the 32nd consecutive month. The New Orders Index decreased by 2.4 percentage points to 58.8 percent, and the Employment Index increased by 1 percentage point to 56.7 percent, indicating continued growth in employment at a slightly faster rate. The Prices Index decreased 4.5 percentage points to 63.9 percent, indicating prices increased at a slower rate in March when compared to February. According to the NMI, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in March. 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."
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the ISM non-manufacturing index (started in January 2008) and the ISM non-manufacturing employment diffusion index.

This was below the consensus forecast of 56.7% and indicates slightly slower expansion in March than in February.