Non-Manufacturing ISM Index Rises in April

The Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business Index was 57.8 in April, up 1.3 points from 56.5 in March. Index readings above 50 indicate expansion in non-manufacturing industries. April was the 63rd consecutive month of growth. Fourteen industries reported growth in April, while four industries—mining; other services; professional, scientific and technical services; and information—contracted.

The Business Activity Index registered 61.6, 4.1 points higher than March’s number. Respondents cited improved weather and lower fuel costs as reasons for increasing activity.

The employment index grew 0.1 points to 56.7, as 13 industries reported increased employment. Four industries, mining; information; other services; and professional, scientific and technical services, reported reduction in employment.

Inventories grew to 51 points, up from 49.5 in March. Some respondents commented that “higher inventories are needed to calm fears about more backorders from ports,” while others noted that they reduced on–hand materials as part of a “lean initiative.”

Prices paid increased for the second month in a row albeit at a slower pace, registering 50.1, 2.3 points lower than in March. Nine industries reported an increase in prices, while 7 reported a decrease.

The index for imports was 51.5, 4 points lower than March’s reading but still expansionary. Four industries—wholesale trade; construction; information; and professional, scientific and technical services, reported import growth, while eight industries reported no change.