Tuesday, February 05, 2013

ISM Non-Manufacturing Report on Business: January 2013

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business indicating that service related business activity continued to expand in January but assessments were slightly lower than last month with the business activity component declining and the overall non-manufacturing index edging down slightly to 55.2 from 55.7.

At 56.4 the business activity index declined a notable 7.24% since December falling 5.21% below the level seen a year earlier.

This month, service industry respondents are sounding mixed reporting some cautious optimism as well as "soft" assessments of conditions:

"Sales are up slightly compared to this same period last year. This is offset by slight increases in costs for personnel benefits, fuel and other operating costs." (Public Administration)

"Business is good, but we find ourselves in a very competitive environment." (Construction)

"No change in business levels since prior month, but optimism growing that commercial and industrial construction will experience growth in 2013." (Real Estate, Rental & Leasing)

"Healthcare reform causing continued slowdown and less investment." (Health Care & Social Assistance)

"Seeing increasing prices on services and goods — some not substantiated. Business outlook continues to show small signs of improvement in parts of our business, but other parts are lagging behind." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)

"There seems to be some stabilization in recent months. Business seems a little more confident, and consumers are participating once again." (Retail Trade)

"Business is slightly softer than this time last year, but there are a lot of projects on the horizon which gives us confidence." (Wholesale Trade)