The non-manufacturing sector in the US continued to contract in January, but at a slower pace than what was expected, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index. The financial crisis, as well as the continuing housing contraction, has reached all facets of the economy, and the services sector is feeling a lot of the pain. But this month’s reading is good news we desperately wanted. The NMI came in at 42.9%, still deep in recessionary levels, but above December’s 40.1% reading and the record-low (37.3%) recorded in November. Economists had forecast the index to contract further, to 39%, so the report is somewhat of a bright spot. Readings above 50% indicate growth, and anything below, contraction.
|Jan 2009||42.9||Jul 2008||49.6|
|Dec 2008||40.1||Jun 2008||48.8|
|Nov 2008||37.4||May 2008||51.2|
|Oct 2008||44.6||Apr 2008||51.9|
|Sep 2008||50.0||Mar 2008||49.9|
|Aug 2008||50.4||Feb 2008||49.7|
|Average for 12 months — 47.2
High — 51.9
Low — 37.4
The Business Activity Index also recovered significantly from its record lows felt just two months ago. The index came in at 44.2%, up from 38.9%. The new-orders index climbed to 41.6% from 38.9%, and the employment index held steady to 34.4% from 34.5%.
Only two industries reported growth in January- Healthcare, and Finance & Insurance.
The 16 industries reporting contraction: Mining; Retail Trade; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Educational Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Other Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Public Administration; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Information; Construction; and Utilities.
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