ISM Non-Manufacturing: Continued Growth in November

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) has now released the November Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), also known as the ISM Services PMI. The headline Composite Index is at 57.4 percent, down 2.7 from 60.1 last month. Today's number came in below the Investing.com forecast of 59.0 percent.

Here is the report summary:

"The NMI® registered 57.4 percent, which is 2.7 percentage points lower than the October reading of 60.1 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slower rate. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 61.4 percent, 0.8 percentage point lower than the October reading of 62.2 percent, reflecting growth for the 100th consecutive month, at a slightly slower rate in November. The New Orders Index registered 58.7 percent, 4.1 percentage points lower than the reading of 62.8 percent in October. The Employment Index decreased 2.2 percentage points in November to 55.3 percent from the October reading of 57.5 percent. The Prices Index decreased by 2 percentage points from the October reading of 62.7 percent to 60.7 percent, indicating prices increased in November for the sixth consecutive month. According to the NMI®, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth. The rate of growth has lessened in the non-manufacturing sector after two very strong months of growth. Comments from the survey respondents indicate that the economy and sector will continue to grow for the remainder of the year." [Source]

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 61.4 percent is down 0.8 percent from a seasonally adjusted 62.2 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 visualize the short-term trends.

Theoretically, this indicator should become more useful as the time frame 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 the trend in the underlying components.

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