Prices Up for 25th-Straight Month in Non-Manufacturing Sector

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in March for the 98th consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management said in its Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.

Although there was growth, the NMI metric slipped by 0.7% and landed at 58.8% in March, pointing to a slower rate of progress.

The non-manufacturing business activity index took a larger spill, falling to 60.6% from 62.8% in February. However, this was still indicative of growth for the 104th consecutive month. Joining the business activity index in declining was the new orders index (down 5.3% to 59.5%).

Meanwhile, the employment index rose 1.6% to 56.6% and the prices index inched up 0.5% to a 61.5% reading. Prices have now risen for 25-straight months.

“Despite the slight dip in the NMI composite index, the non-manufacturing sector enjoyed another month of strong growth in March,” said Anthony Nieves, chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The cooling off of the new orders index possibly prevented an even stronger reading for the NMI composite index. The majority of respondents remain positive about business conditions.”

There were 15 non-manufacturing industries that reported growth in March, including transportation, agriculture, mining, finance and insurance as well as real estate, rental and leasing. The two industries that reported contraction in March were educational services and information.

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