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3 December 2020

U.S. non-manufacturing sector’s growth decelerates slightly more than expected in November - ISM

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported on Thursday that its non-manufacturing index (NMI) came in at 55.9 in November, which was 0.7 percentage point lower than the October reading of 56.6 percent. The reading represented growth in the services sector for the sixth straight month but the slowest since May.

Economists forecast the index to decrease to 56.0 last month. A reading above 50 signals expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 reported increases last month, the ISM said, adding that respondents' comments were mixed about business conditions and the economy as most companies were cautious, navigating operations amid the pandemic and the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election.

According to the report, the ISM’s non-manufacturing Business Activity measure fell 3.2 percentage points to 58.0 percent from October’s figure, the New Orders gauge declined 1.6 percentage points to 57.2 percent and the Inventories index dropped 3.8 percentage points to 49.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Employment Index increased 1.4 percentage points to 51.5 percent from the October reading, the Prices Index climbed 2.2 percentage points to 66.1 and the Supplier Deliveries Index rose 0.8 percentage points to 57.0 percent.

Commenting on the data, the Chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, Anthony Nieves, noted, “The past relationship between the Services PMI and the overall economy indicates that the Services PM for November (55.9 percent) corresponds to a 2.5-percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.”

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