ISM: Service Sector Growth Continues in March

The ISM Services Index registered 63.7% in March; 8.4 percentage points higher than the February reading of 55.3%. This reading represents the tenth straight month of growth for the services sector, which has expanded for all but two of the last 134 months.

All of the 18 non-manufacturing industries reported growth. Survey respondents noted “lifting of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related restrictions has released pent-up demand for many of their respective companies’ services. Production-capacity constraints, material shortages, weather and challenges in logistics and human resources continue to cause supply chain disruption.”

The Business Activity Index registered 69.4% in March, an increase of 13.9 percentage points from the February reading of 55.5%. This is the highest reading on record and represents growth for the tenth consecutive month.

Service sector employment grew in March for the third consecutive month and registered 57.2% in March, up 4.5 percentage points from the February reading of 52.7%. Ten industries reported growth in employment for the month.

The New Orders Index 67.2 percent, an increase of 15.3 percentage points from the February reading of 51.9%.  This is the tenth consecutive month of growth in New Orders and a record high reading. Comments from respondents include: “We have resumed several large projects that were on hold due to the pandemic” and “Higher sales at retail outlets.”

Supplier deliveries remained slow, as the index registered 61.0%, which is 0.2 percentage points higher than the 60.8% reported in February. A reading above 50% indicates slower deliveries.


Read the ISM release.