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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index: Slowest Growth Since February 2010

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher No Comments Comments
    July 8, 2013

    Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 52.2 percent, signaling slower growth than last month’s 53.7 percent. In fact, it is the lowest reading since February 2010. TheBriefing.com and Investing.com forecasts were both for 54.0 percent.

    Here is the report summary:

    The NMI™ registered 52.2 percent in June, 1.5 percentage points lower than the 53.7 percent registered in May. This indicates continued growth at a slightly slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index registered 51.7 percent, which is 4.8 percentage points lower than the 56.5 percent reported in May, reflecting growth for the 47th consecutive month. The New Orders Index decreased by 5.2 percentage points to 50.8 percent, and the Employment Index increased 4.6 percentage points to 54.7 percent, indicating growth in employment for the 11th consecutive month. The Prices Index increased 1.4 percentage points to 52.5 percent, indicating prices increased at a faster rate in June when compared to May. According to the NMI™, 14 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in June. Respondents’ comments are mixed about business conditions depending upon the industry and company. The majority indicate that growth has been slow and incremental; however, it is still better year over year.

    Like its much older kin, the ISM Manufacturing Series, I have been reluctant to focus on this collection of diffusion indexes. For one thing, there is relatively little history for ISM’s Non-Manufacturing data, especially for the headline Composite Index, which dates from 2008. The chart below shows Non-Manufacturing Composite. We have only a single recession to gauge is behavior as a business cycle indicator.

     

     

    In my view, the more interesting and useful subcomponent is the Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index.

     

     

    For a diffusion index, the latest reading indicates growth at a slower rate than last month and the lowest reading since November 2009. But this can be an extremely volatile indicator. Thus I’ve added a six-month moving average to assist us in visualizing trends.

    Theoretically, I believe, this indicator will become more useful as the timeframe of its coverage expands. Manufacturing may be a more sensitive barometer than Non-Manufacturing activity, but we are increasingly a services-oriented economy, which explains my intention to keep this series on the radar.

     


    Here is a link to my coverage of ISM Manufacturing report released earlier this week.

     

    Note: I use the FRED USRECP series (Peak through the Period preceding the Trough) to highlight the recessions in the charts above. For example, the NBER dates the last cycle peak as December 2007, the trough as June 2009 and the duration as 18 months. The USRECP series thus flags December 2007 as the start of the recession and May 2009 as the last month of the recession, giving us the 18-month duration. The dot for the last recession in the charts above are thus for November 2007. the “Peak through the Period preceding the Trough” series is the one FRED uses in its monthly charts, as illustrated here.

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author

    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.
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