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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Hits High

November 3, 2017

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in October for the 94th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
 

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., A.P.P., CFPM, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee: "The NMI® registered 60.1 percent, which is 0.3 percentage point higher than the September reading of 59.8 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly faster rate. This is the highest NMI® reading since the index’s debut in 2008. The highest reading among pre-2008 composite index calculations is 61.3 percent in August 2005. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 62.2 percent, 0.9 percentage point higher than the September reading of 61.3 percent, reflecting growth for the 99th consecutive month, at a slightly faster rate in October. The New Orders Index registered 62.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the reading of 63 percent in September. The Employment Index increased 0.7 percentage point in October to 57.5 percent from the September reading of 56.8 percent. The Prices Index decreased by 3.6 percentage points from the September reading of 66.3 percent to 62.7 percent, indicating prices increased in October for the fifth consecutive month. According to the NMI®, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth. The non-manufacturing sector has reflected the third consecutive month of strong growth. Respondent comments continue to indicate a positive outlook for business conditions, and the economy as we begin the fourth quarter."

INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE

The 16 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in October — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Transportation & Warehousing; Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Utilities; Other Services; Wholesale Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Public Administration; Information; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Accommodation & Food Services. The two industries reporting contraction in October are: Educational Services; and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation.


 
WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING ...
  • "Increasing commodity pricing along with rising construction cost is a concern in [the] quarter ahead." (Accommodation & Food Services)
  • "Business is strong, driven by large upticks in business from clients in the retail industry. Seasonal surge is starting out stronger than in a normal year." (Management of Companies & Support Services)
  • "The current hurricane damage will result in a shortage of some building materials and draw labor forces away from our area." (Construction)
  • "Positive trends continue. Business activity/results good. Revenue and net profit are above plan." (Finance & Insurance)
  • "We continue to struggle with the ‘unknowns’ around Obamacare, and its impacts on our health care and insurance businesses." (Health Care & Social Assistance)
  • "Business activity with oil companies remains flat. Oil field services, midstream, downstream and petrochemical sectors remain strong." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)
  • "Business levels increased due to hurricane recovery efforts." (Real Estate, Rental & Leasing)
  • "Outlook is favorable. Labor is in short supply and is constraining growth." (Wholesale Trade)
  • "Uptick based on replacement vehicle activity in hurricane-impacted areas of Texas and Florida." (Retail Trade)
ISM® NON-MANUFACTURING SURVEY RESULTS AT A GLANCE
COMPARISON OF ISM® NON-MANUFACTURING AND ISM® MANUFACTURING SURVEYS*
OCTOBER 2017
  Non-Manufacturing Manufacturing
Index Series
Index
Oct
Series
Index
Sep
Percent
Point
Change
Direction Rate
of
Change
Trend**
(Months)
Series
Index
Oct
Series
Index
Sep
Percent
Point
Change
NMI®/PMI® 60.1 59.8 +0.3 Growing Faster 94 58.7 60.8 -2.1
Business Activity/Production 62.2 61.3 +0.9 Growing Faster 99 61.0 62.2 -1.2
New Orders 62.8 63.0 -0.2 Growing Slower 99 63.4 64.6 -1.2
Employment 57.5 56.8 +0.7 Growing Faster 44 59.8 60.3 -0.5
Supplier Deliveries 58.0 58.0 0.0 Slowing Same 22 61.4 64.4 -3.0
Inventories 52.5 51.5 +1.0 Growing Faster 7 48.0 52.5 -4.5
Prices 62.7 66.3 -3.6 Increasing Slower 5 68.5 71.5 -3.0
Backlog of Orders 53.5 56.0 -2.5 Growing Slower 9 55.0 58.0 -3.0
New Export Orders 60.0 56.0 +4.0 Growing Faster 9 56.5 57.0 -0.5
Imports 52.0 52.0 0.0 Growing Same 5 54.0 54.0 0.0
Inventory Sentiment 61.0 58.5 +2.5 Too High Faster 245 N/A N/A N/A
Customers' Inventories N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 43.5 42.0 +1.5
Overall Economy Growing Faster 99
Non-Manufacturing Sector Growing Faster 94

* Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for the Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment Indexes. Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for New Orders, Production, Employment and Supplier Deliveries.

** Number of months moving in current direction.



 

COMMODITIES REPORTED UP/DOWN IN PRICE, AND IN SHORT SUPPLY


 
Commodities Up in Price

Aircraft Parts; Aluminum (2); Beef; Carbon Products; Cheese (2); Chemical Products; Construction Contractors; Construction Services; Copper; Copper Products (3); Corrugated Boxes (6); #1 Diesel Fuel (5); #2 Diesel Fuel (3); Electrical Equipment; Fuel (4); Gasoline* (3); Labor (7); Labor — Construction (8); Lumber; Lumber Products (4); Medical/Surgical Supplies (4); Polypropylene (2); Poly Products — Poly Bags and Poly Film (2); PVC Pipe & Fittings; PVC Products (3); Resin Products; Seafood; and Steel Products.


 
Commodities Down in Price

Bacon (2); Beef (2); Dairy Products; Gasoline*; Ground Beef Patties 75/25; and Pork.


 
Commodities in Short Supply

Construction; Construction Contractors; IV Solutions (3); Labor (3); Labor — Construction (19); Labor —Temporary (2); Medical Supplies (5); Plastic Products; and PVC Products (2).

*Indicates both up and down in price.

 

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.
 


 

OCTOBER 2017 NON-MANUFACTURING INDEX SUMMARIES


NMI®

In October, the NMI® registered 60.1 percent, 0.3 percentage point higher than the 59.8 percent registered in September, indicating continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector for the 94th consecutive month. A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

An NMI® above 48.9 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the October NMI® indicates growth for the 99th consecutive month in the overall economy, and indicates expansion in the non-manufacturing sector for the 94th consecutive month. Nieves says, “The past relationship between the NMI® and the overall economy indicates that the NMI® for October (60.1 percent) corresponds to a 4.3 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis."

 

NMI® HISTORY
Month NMI® Month NMI®
Oct 2017   60.1 Apr 2017   57.5
Sep 2017   59.8 Mar 2017   55.2
Aug 2017   55.3 Feb 2017   57.6
Jul 2017   53.9 Jan 2017   56.5
Jun 2017   57.4 Dec 2016   56.6
May 2017   56.9 Nov 2016   56.2
Average for 12 months – 56.9
High – 60.1
Low – 53.9


 
Business Activity

ISM®’s Business Activity Index registered 62.2 percent in October, an increase of 0.9 percentage point from the September reading of 61.3 percent. This represents growth in business activity for the 99th consecutive month. Sixteen industries reported increased business activity and one industry reported decreased activity for the month of October. Comments from respondents include: "Higher demand for our services" and "Expansion projects underway."

The 16 industries reporting growth of business activity in October — listed in order — are: Utilities; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Construction; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; Retail Trade; Public Administration; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Mining; Management of Companies & Support Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; and Accommodation & Food Services. The only industry reporting a decrease in business activity in October is Educational Services.


Business Activity
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 34 53 13 62.2
Sep 2017 37 49 14 61.3
Aug 2017 32 52 16 57.5
Jul 2017 29 58 13 55.9


 
New Orders

ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing New Orders Index registered 62.8 percent, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the September reading of 63 percent. October represents growth in new orders for the 99th consecutive month, at a slightly slower rate compared with September. Comments from respondents include: "Business from previous quarters’ sales continue to come online at a ramped-up pace” and “Placing orders for 2018 deliveries."

The 16 industries reporting growth of new orders in October — listed in order — are: Construction; Utilities; Transportation & Warehousing; Other Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Management of Companies & Support Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Mining; Wholesale Trade; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Information; Accommodation & Food Services; and Public Administration. The two industries reporting a decrease in business activity in October are: Educational Services; and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation.

 


New Orders
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 35 52 13 62.8
Sep 2017 40 49 11 63.0
Aug 2017 29 55 16 57.1
Jul 2017 27 61 12 55.1


 
Employment

Employment activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in October for the 44th consecutive month. ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing Employment Index registered 57.5 percent, which reflects an increase of 0.7 percentage point when compared to the September reading of 56.8 percent. Thirteen industries reported increased employment, and three industries reported decreased employment. Comments from respondents include: "Added staff due to higher volumes in prior two months" and "Increasing staffing for future projects."

The 13 industries reporting an increase in employment in October — listed in order — are: Mining; Educational Services; Finance & Insurance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Transportation & Warehousing; Wholesale Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Public Administration; Accommodation & Food Services; Retail Trade; Construction; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Health Care & Social Assistance. The three industries reporting a reduction in employment in October are: Utilities; Information; and Other Services.


Employment
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 24 65 11 57.5
Sep 2017 22 66 12 56.8
Aug 2017 25 60 15 56.2
Jul 2017 26 60 14 53.6


 
Supplier Deliveries

Supplier deliveries were slower in October for the 22nd consecutive month. The index registered 58 percent, which is the same percent that was registered in September. A reading above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, while a reading below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries. Comments from respondents include: "Some shortages on supplies — some transportation delays" and “Trucking issues related to hurricanes."

The 14 industries reporting slower deliveries in October — listed in order — are: Wholesale Trade; Construction; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; Retail Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Information; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Public Administration; Health Care & Social Assistance; Accommodation & Food Services; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. No industry reported faster deliveries in October.


Supplier Deliveries
%
Slower
%
Same
%
Faster

Index
Oct 2017 17 82 1 58.0
Sep 2017 19 78 3 58.0
Aug 2017 7 87 6 50.5
Jul 2017 7 88 5 51.0


 
Inventories

ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing Inventories Index grew in October for the seventh consecutive month and registered 52.5 percent, 1 percentage point higher than the 51.5 percent that was reported in September. Of the total respondents in October, 31 percent indicated they do not have inventories or do not measure them. Comments from respondents include: "Stock brought in for catastrophe activity" and "Increased to fill customer orders."

The seven industries reporting an increase in inventories in October — listed in order — are: Utilities; Wholesale Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Retail Trade; and Finance & Insurance. The six industries reporting decreases in inventories in October — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Accommodation & Food Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Mining; Public Administration; and Construction.


Inventories
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 22 61 17 52.5
Sep 2017 24 55 21 51.5
Aug 2017 24 59 17 53.5
Jul 2017 26 61 13 56.5


 
Prices

Prices paid by non-manufacturing organizations for purchased materials and services increased in October for the fifth consecutive month. ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing Prices Index registered 62.7 percent, 3.6 percentage points lower than the 66.3 percent reported in September. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported higher prices, 66 percent indicated no change in prices paid, and 7 percent of respondents reported lower prices.

The 13 non-manufacturing industries reporting an increase in prices paid during the month of October — listed in order — are: Construction; Wholesale Trade; Public Administration; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Retail Trade; Information; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Finance & Insurance. The four industries reporting a decrease in prices paid during the month of October are: Utilities; Accommodation & Food Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; and Health Care & Social Assistance.


Prices
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 27 66 7 62.7
Sep 2017 31 65 4 66.3
Aug 2017 20 73 7 57.9
Jul 2017 19 77 4 55.7

 

NOTE: Commodities reported as up in price and down in price are listed in the commodities section of this report.



 
Backlog of Orders

ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing Backlog of Orders Index indicates that order backlogs grew in October. The index registered 53.5 percent, which is 2.5 percentage points lower than the 56 percent reported in September. Of the total respondents in October, 36 percent indicated they do not measure backlog of orders.

The 10 industries reporting an increase in order backlogs in October — listed in order — are: Utilities; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; Information; Mining; Public Administration; Finance & Insurance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Construction; and Transportation & Warehousing. The only industry reporting a decrease in order backlogs in October is Health Care & Social Assistance.


Backlog of Orders
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 18 71 11 53.5
Sep 2017 22 68 10 56.0
Aug 2017 20 67 13 53.5
Jul 2017 15 74 11 52.0


 
New Export Orders

Orders and requests for services and other non-manufacturing activities to be provided outside of the U.S. by domestically based personnel grew in October for the ninth consecutive month at a faster rate. The New Export Orders Index registered 60 percent, which is 4 percentage points higher than the 56 percent reported in September. Of the total respondents in October, 64 percent indicated they either do not perform, or do not separately measure, orders for work outside of the U.S.

The nine industries reporting an increase in new export orders in October — listed in order — are: Construction; Information; Retail Trade; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Accommodation & Food Services; Public Administration; Transportation & Warehousing; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The three industries reporting a decrease in export orders in October are: Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; and Wholesale Trade.


New Export Orders
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 28 64 8 60.0
Sep 2017 18 76 6 56.0
Aug 2017 16 78 6 55.0
Jul 2017 15 76 9 53.0


 
Imports

Imports grew in October for the fifth consecutive month. This month’s reading at 52 percent is the same reading as what was reported in September. Fifty-one percent of respondents reported that they do not use, or do not track the use of, imported materials.

The nine industries reporting an increase in imports for the month of October — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; Information; Public Administration; Wholesale Trade; Finance & Insurance; Retail Trade; and Transportation & Warehousing. The four industries reporting a decrease in imports in the month of October are: Health Care & Social Assistance; Accommodation & Food Services; Mining; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.


Imports
%
Higher
%
Same
%
Lower

Index
Oct 2017 13 78 9 52.0
Sep 2017 9 86 5 52.0
Aug 2017 11 79 10 50.5
Jul 2017 9 85 6 51.5


 
Inventory Sentiment

The ISM® Non-Manufacturing Inventory Sentiment Index in October registered 61 percent, which is 2.5 percentage points higher than the reading of 58.5 percent reported in September. This indicates that respondents believe their inventories are still too high at this time. In October, 27 percent of respondents said their inventories were too high, 5 percent of the respondents said their inventories were too low, and 68 percent said their inventories were about right.

The eight industries reporting a feeling that their inventories are too high in October — listed in order — are: Mining; Utilities; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Information; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Public Administration. No industry reported a feeling that their inventories are too low in October, compared with September. Nine industries reported no change in inventory sentiment in October compared to September.


Inventory Sentiment
%Too
High
%About
Right
%Too
Low

Index
Oct 2017 27 68 5 61.0
Sep 2017 24 69 7 58.5
Aug 2017 26 70 4 61.0
Jul 2017 35 65 0 67.5

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