ISM Brings Strong Growth in July for Services and Non-manufacturing Economy

Monday brought the July ISM non-manufacturing report, which showed another month of growth with a reading of 56.0. This was much higher than expected, as Bloomberg had a consensus estimate of 53.0 and Dow Jones had a consensus of 53.3. June’s ISM non-manufacturing figure was pulled down because of a decline in new orders, slowing to 52.2, versus May’s 53.7. Some 16 sectors posted economic expansion versus only two sectors in contraction.

July’s business index rose to 60.4 from 51.7 in June. Employment dipped, after rising in June, as July’s reading was 53.2 versus 54.7 a month earlier. The prices index needs to be watched as well, because it rose to 60.1 from 52.5 in June. Fortunately, new orders also rose handily to 57.7 in July, versus 50.8 in June.

June’s reading indicated a slower rate of growth than May, but the employment index was a positive factor at a time when business activity slowed and inventories rose.

The ISM non-manufacturing survey is taken monthly and is based on responses from more than 375 firms in various sectors. The group includes agriculture and mining, as well as construction, wholesale and retail trade, transportation and communications. Any reading over 50.0 indicates economic growth on a monthly basis.

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