The ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Index fell to 53.4 points in February, down 0.1 points from January’s rate. Despite the decline in the index, February marked the 73rd consecutive month of growth as indicated by readings over 50. Fourteen non-manufacturing industries reported growth in February, while three reported contraction.
Growth in the Business Activity Index increased to 57.8, up 3.9 points from January’s reading. Respondents noted that although the economy is in slow growth mode, local markets remain competitive. Twelve of the eighteen industries reported an increase in business activity, while four reported a decline.
Non-manufacturing employment fell for the first time since February 2014, as the index slipped 2.4 points to 49.7. Respondents suggested that flat revenue and organizational streamlining led to workforce reductions.
The New Orders Index registered 55.5, down 1.0 points from January. Respondents reported that new clients and seasonal growth contributed to business expansion during the month.
Supplier deliveries slowed for the second consecutive month, as the index moved down 1.0 points to 50.5 (readings above 50 for this index indicate slower deliveries). Five industries reported slowed deliveries, equal to the number of industries reporting faster deliveries.
Read the ISM release.