ISM: Service sector expands in March

The ISM Services Index registered 58.3% in February; 1.8 percentage points higher than the February reading of 56.5%. This reading represents the 22nd straight month of growth for the services sector, which has expanded for all but two of the last 146 months.

Seventeen non-manufacturing industries reported growth in March. Survey respondents noted “Supply chain challenges continue at about the same levels as last month. Employment has improved as COVID-19 cases are declining. Restaurant sales have improved since Valentine’s Day, with mask and vaccine verification mandates being dropped.”

The Business Activity Index registered 55.5% in March, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from the February reading of 55.1%. This represents growth for the twenty-second consecutive month.

Service sector employment expanded in March, and registered 54.0, 5.5 percentage points higher than February’s reading of 48.5%. Thirteen industries reported growth in employment for the month.

The New Orders Index was 60.1%, up 4.0% from the prior month. Comments from respondents include: “Substantial increase in guest traffic over the last month” and “March and April bookings looking good.”

The supplier deliveries index registered 63.4% in March, down 2.8% from the prior month. A reading above 50% indicates slower deliveries.

Read the ISM release.