Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business indicating that service related business activity improved slightly throughout December with the business activity component going flat on the month while the overall non-manufacturing index increased to 52.6 from 52.0 in November.
At 56.2 the business activity index went unchanged since October and remained 10.65% below the level seen a year earlier.
Like releases of prior months, non-manufacturing sector respondents are seeing some signs of improvement but the overall outlook is still fairly mixed:
"Year-end uptick in activity." (Finance & Insurance)
"Business is stabilizing — some good signs in the private sector for commercial construction." (Construction)
"Some additional proposal requests, but clients continue to delay decisions on capital spending. Expect first quarter 2012 activity to be sluggish." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)
"Automotive industry growth seems to be outpacing the rest of the economy." (Information)
"Demand increasing gradually." (Wholesale Trade)
"Business is holding steady. Outlook for December and first quarter 2012 is good." (Retail Trade)