Chart of the Day: US Services Sector Breathes, But Still Expanding

This morning’s ISM Non-Manufacturing data from the Institute for Supply Management cooled after hitting the highest level in six years last month. The NMI index pulled back to 57.3% in March from 59.7% in February. The ISM notes:

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in March for the 16th consecutive month.

The NMI registered 57.3 percent in March, 2.4 percentage points lower than the 59.7 percent registered in February, and indicating continued growth at a slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased 7.2 percentage points to 59.7 percent, reflecting growth for the 20th consecutive month, but at a slower rate than in February. The New Orders Index decreased 0.3 percentage point to 64.1 percent, and the Employment Index decreased 1.9 percentage points to 53.7 percent, indicating growth in employment for the seventh consecutive month, but at a slower rate. The Prices Index decreased 1.2 percentage points to 72.1 percent, indicating that prices increased at a slightly slower rate in March. According to the NMI, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in March. Respondents’ comments reflect concern about the recent natural disasters in Japan and the associated supply chain ramifications. Additionally, there is concern over rising costs, most notably for fuel and fuel products. Overall, most respondents remain confident about the direction of the economy.

Here’s how that looks compared to pre-crisis levels at the start of 2008 (Click for Larger Image):


Click for Larger Image

Performance by Industry in Order of Growth

Sector Performance = 16 winners and 1 loser

  1. Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; (expanded)
  2. Mining; (expanded)
  3. Management of Companies & Support Services; (expanded)
  4. Retail Trade; (expanded)
  5. Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; (expanded)
  6. Wholesale Trade; (expanded)
  7. Accommodation & Food Services; (expanded)
  8. Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; (expanded)
  9. Health Care & Social Assistance; (expanded)
  10. Information; (expanded)
  11. Finance & Insurance; (expanded)
  12. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; (expanded)
  13. Utilities; (expanded)
  14. Construction; (expanded)
  15. Transportation & Warehousing; (expanded)
  16. Public Administration; (expanded)
  17. Educational Services. (contracted)