ISM: Non-Manufacturing Sector Expanded in March

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index registered 54.5 percent in March, up 1.1 points from February’s rate and marking the 74th consecutive month of growth in the sector. Twelve non-manufacturing industries reported growth in March, while two reported contraction.

Growth in the Business Activity Index increased to 59.8, up 2 points from February’s reading. Respondents noted higher demand for services, as well as higher development for new products. Thirteen industries, including mining and educational services reported growth in business activity, while the arts, entertainment and recreation sector reported a decline.

Non-manufacturing employment grew after a month of contraction in February, as the index rose 0.6 points to 50.3. Nine industries, including mining, educational services, and healthcare reported increases in employment, while six industries, including, arts, entertainment and recreation, utilities and professional services reported decreased employment.

The New Orders Index registered 56.7 points, up 1.2 points from the previous month. Respondents cited both higher sales, along with new and expanding programs and projects during the month.

Supplier deliveries slowed for the third consecutive month, as the index increased 0.5 points to 51.0 (readings above 50 for this index indicate slower deliveries). Five industries reported faster deliveries during the month, while four reported slower deliveries.

Read the ISM release.