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ISM Non-Manufacturing: Continued Growth in June at a Slightly Faster Rate

July 6, 2015

by Jill Mislinski

Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 56 percent, up 0.3 percent from last month's 55.7 percent. Today's number came in fractionally below the Investing.com forecast of 56.2 percent.

Here is the report summary:

"The NMI® registered 56 percent in June, 0.3 percentage point higher than the May reading of 55.7 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly faster rate. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 61.5 percent, which is 2 percentage points higher than the May reading of 59.5 percent, reflecting growth for the 71st consecutive month at a faster rate. The New Orders Index registered 58.3 percent, 0.4 percentage point higher than the reading of 57.9 percent registered in May. The Employment Index decreased 2.6 percentage points to 52.7 percent from the May reading of 55.3 percent and indicates growth for the 16th consecutive month. The Prices Index decreased 2.9 percentage points from the May reading of 55.9 percent to 53 percent, indicating prices increased in June for the fourth consecutive month. According to the NMI®, 15 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in June. The majority of respondents’ comments are positive about business conditions and the economy."

Unlike its much older kin, the ISM Manufacturing Series, 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.

The more interesting and useful subcomponent is the Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index. The latest data point at 61.5 percent is up from 59.5 the previous month.

ISM Non-Manufacturing

For a diffusion index, this can be an extremely volatile indicator, hence the addition of a six-month moving average to help us visualizing the short-term trends.

Theoretically, this indicator should 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 our intention to keep this series on the radar.

Here is a table showing trend in the underlying components.


Here is a link to our coverage of the latest ISM Manufacturing report.

Note: We 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.