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Economic activity in the services sector grew in January for the eighth month in a row, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Services ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., A.P.P., CFPM, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Services Business Survey Committee: “The Services PMI® registered 58.7 percent, 1 percentage point higher than the seasonally adjusted December reading of 57.7 percent. This reading is the highest since February 2019 (58.8 percent) and indicates the eighth straight month of growth for the services sector, which has expanded for all but two of the last 132 months.

“The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 57.8 percent, down 5 percentage points from December’s reading of 62.8 percent. (Supplier Deliveries is the only ISM® Report On Business® index that is inversed; a reading of above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, which is typical as the economy improves and customer demand increases.)

“The Prices Index figure of 64.2 percent is 0.2 percentage point lower than the seasonally adjusted December reading of 64.4 percent, indicating that prices increased in January, and at a slower rate. According to the Services PMI®, 14 services industries reported growth. The composite index indicated growth for the eighth consecutive month after a two-month contraction in April and May. There was continued growth in the services sector for the month of January. Respondents’ comments are more optimistic about business conditions and the economy. Various local- and state-level COVID-19 restrictions continue to negatively impact companies and industries. Production capacity and logistics issues continue to cause supply chain challenges,” says Nieves.

INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE
The 14 services industries reporting growth in January — listed in order — are: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Finance & Insurance; Transportation & Warehousing; Health Care & Social Assistance; Management of Companies & Support Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Accommodation & Food Services; Other Services; Mining; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Public Administration; and Information. The four industries reporting contraction in January are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Educational Services; Retail Trade; and Utilities.

WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING

  • “Many of our restaurant locations remain completely shut down to on-site dining. We remain optimistic about business trends beyond April/May 2021. [We] have a very challenging few months to go.” (Accommodation & Food Services)
  • “Orders for new business have picked up. Labor is still the major impediment to the business.” (Construction)
  • “Seasonal reduction of activity due to winter break from campus activity.” (Educational Services)
  • “Start of 2021 on track with a positive outlook.” (Finance & Insurance)
  • “Increased number of COVID-19 patients has forced the cancellation of elective surgeries. Bed capacity limited.” (Health Care & Social Assistance)
  • “The copper shortage is slowing deliveries of key network equipment.” (Information)
  • “Still working under COVID-19 restrictions and uncertain political climate.” (Mining)
  • “Overall, everything continues to be more optimistic; however, we are still seeing impacts from suppliers that are being affected by limiting staff due to COVID-19 restrictions.” (Other Services)
  • “Post-holidays spending is up. Many capital projects and expenditures are coming to fruition.” (Public Administration)
  • “Business outlook for 2021 looks better. Companies are optimistic that conditions will start improving by the end of the second quarter.” (Retail Trade)
  • “Business outlook for 2021 is positive with projects and capital investments moving forward. Target financial objectives have been obtained.” (Utilities)
  • “Good start to the year; business has promising growth. Market conditions are still affected by logistics issues, both domestic and international. Also, prices for raw material prices and freight are increasing up, by 4 percent to 13 percent.” (Wholesale Trade)
ISM® SERVICES SURVEY RESULTS AT A GLANCE COMPARISON OF ISM® SERVICES AND ISM® MANUFACTURING SURVEYS January 2021
Index Services PMI®Manufacturing PMI®
Series
Index Jan
Series
Index Dec
Percent
Point
Change
    Direction  Rate of
Change
  Trend** (Months)Series
Index Jan
Series
Index Dec
Percent
Point
Change
Services PMI®58.757.7+1.0GrowingFaster858.760.5-1.8
Business Activity/ Production59.960.5-0.6GrowingSlower860.764.7-4.0
New Orders61.858.6+3.2GrowingFaster861.167.5-6.4
Employment55.248.7+6.5GrowingFrom Contracting152.651.7+0.9
Supplier Deliveries57.862.8-5.0SlowingSlower2068.267.7+0.5
Inventories49.258.2-9.0ContractingFrom Growing150.851.0-0.2
Prices64.264.4-0.2IncreasingSlower4482.177.6+4.5
Backlog of Orders50.948.7+2.2GrowingFrom Contracting159.759.1+0.6
New Export Orders47.057.3-10.3ContractingFrom Growing154.957.5-2.6
Imports53.551.8+1.7Growing  Faster  456.854.6+2.2
Inventory Sentiment49.747.7+2.0Too LowSlower3N/AN/AN/A
Customers’ InventoriesN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A33.137.9-4.8
Overall EconomyGrowingFaster8
Services SectorGrowingFaster8

ServicesISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for the Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment indexes. Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for New Orders, Production, Employment and Inventories indexes.
**Number of months moving in current direction.

COMMODITIES REPORTED UP/DOWN IN PRICE, AND IN SHORT SUPPLY

Commodities Up in Price
Aluminum; Copper; Copper Wire (2); Diesel (2); Exam Gloves (4); Freight (2); Fuel; Gasoline (2); Gloves (2); Interior Door Slabs; Isolation Gowns; Labor (2); Labor — Temporary; Lumber; Nitrile Gloves (5); Oriented Strand Board (2); Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (12); PPE — Gloves (4); Pharmaceuticals; Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Products (5); Rebar; Resin Products; Steel (5); Steel Products; and Transportation.

Commodities Down in Price
None.

Commodities in Short Supply
Appliances; Computer Equipment; Construction Contractors (4); Corrugate; Electrical Components (2); Gloves (2); Labor (2); Labor — Construction; Labor — Temporary; Lumber; N95 Masks (11); Needles & Syringes (2); Nitrile Gloves (8); Oriented Strand Board; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (12); PPE — Gloves (10); PPE — Masks; Pipette Tips; Steel Products (2); and Tubing.

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.

JANUARY 2021 SERVICES INDEX SUMMARIES

Services PMI®

In January, the Services PMI® registered 58.7 percent, 1 percentage point higher than seasonally adjusted December figure of 57.7 percent. This reading indicates the services sector grew for the eighth consecutive month after two months of contraction and 122 months of growth before that. A reading above 50 percent indicates the services sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the services sector is generally contracting.

A Services PMI® above 49.2 percent, over time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the January Services PMI® indicates expansion for an eighth straight month following two months of contraction and a preceding period of 128 months of growth. Nieves says, “The past relationship between the Services PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the Services PMI® for January (58.7 percent) corresponds to a 3.4 -percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.”

SERVICES PMI® HISTORY

MonthServices PMI®MonthServices PMI®
Jan 202158.7Jul 202056.6
Dec 202057.7Jun 202056.5
Nov 202056.8May 202045.4
Oct 202056.2Apr 202041.6
Sep 202057.2Mar 202053.6
Aug 202057.2Feb 202056.7
Average for 12 months – 54.5 High – 58.7 Low – 41.6

Business Activity
ISM®‘s Business Activity Index registered 59.9 percent in January, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 60.5 percent. This represents growth for the eighth consecutive month. Comments from respondents include: “Business activity has improved due to people adjusting to the current environment” and “Increase in prospects and orders.”

The 10 industries reporting an increase in business activity for the month of January — listed in order — are: Construction; Finance & Insurance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Public Administration; Utilities; and Information. The two industries reporting a decrease are: Retail Trade; and Educational Services. Six industries reported no change in January compared to December.

Business Activity%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202129.751.418.859.9
Dec 202031.450.418.260.5
Nov 202027.557.015.459.6
Oct 202039.445.515.161.1

New Orders
ISM®‘s New Orders Index registered 61.8 percent, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 58.6 percent. New orders grew for the eighth consecutive month after two months of contraction and a preceding period of 128 months of expansion. Comments from respondents include: “We appear to be picking up, as our customers are starting to pull the trigger on new project spend” and “Higher order levels due to enhanced promotions and seasonal activity.”

The eight industries reporting growth of new orders in January — listed in order — are: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Finance & Insurance; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Wholesale Trade; Construction; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The three industries reporting a decrease in January are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Accommodation & Food Services; and Educational Services. Seven industries reported no change in January compared to December.

New Orders%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202130.551.617.961.8
Dec 202030.349.919.758.6
Nov 202029.655.215.159.0
Oct 202032.349.818.057.3

Employment
Employment activity in the services sector grew in January after contracting in December. After 72 straight pre-pandemic months of expansion, the index contracted from March through August. ISM®‘s Services Employment Index registered 55.2 percent in January, up 6.5 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 48.7 percent. Comments from respondents include: “New hires required to perform awarded work in 2021” and “Trying to replace and build staff in critical areas.”

The eight industries reporting an increase in employment in January are: Management of Companies & Support Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Construction; Finance & Insurance; Accommodation & Food Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Public Administration; and Wholesale Trade. The six industries that reported a reduction in employment in January — listed in order — are: Retail Trade; Information; Educational Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Utilities; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.

Employment%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202116.273.010.855.2
Dec 202014.666.818.648.7
Nov 202016.069.614.551.5
Oct 202019.562.418.150.1

Supplier Deliveries
The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 57.8 percent, which is 5 percentage points lower than the 62.8 percent reported in December. A reading above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, while a reading below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries. Comments from respondents include: “Longer production schedules and shipping time,” and “Labor issues, port congestion and trucking delays.”

The 13 industries reporting slower deliveries in January — listed in order — are: Transportation & Warehousing; Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Retail Trade; Health Care & Social Assistance; Other Services; Mining; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Construction; Information; Management of Companies & Support Services; Educational Services; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The only industry reporting faster deliveries in January is Utilities.

Supplier
Deliveries
%Slower%Same%FasterIndex
Jan 202118.478.82.857.8
Dec 202027.670.42.062.8
Nov 202016.980.32.857.0
Oct 202015.481.43.156.2

Inventories
The Inventories Index contracted in January after the prior month of growth. The reading of 49.2 percent was a 9-percentage point decrease from the 58.2 percent reported in December. Of the total respondents in January, 38 percent indicated they do not have inventories or do not measure them. Comments from respondents include: “Consumption of inventory levels” and “Inbound inventory can’t keep up with the demand.”

The seven industries reporting an increase in inventories in January — listed in order — are: Finance & Insurance; Educational Services; Other Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; Public Administration; and Information. The six industries reporting a decrease in inventories in January — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Transportation & Warehousing; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Mining; Retail Trade; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.

Inventories%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202117.064.618.549.2
Dec 202028.659.212.258.2
Nov 202019.659.421.049.3
Oct 202022.561.216.353.1

Prices
Prices paid by service organizations for materials and services increased in January, with the index registering 64.2 percent. This is 0.2 percentage point lower than the seasonally adjusted 64.4 percent reported in December.

The 16 services industries that reported an increase in prices paid during the month of January — listed in order — are: Wholesale Trade; Construction; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Retail Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Mining; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Transportation & Warehousing; Health Care & Social Assistance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Public Administration; Utilities; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; Finance & Insurance; and Educational Services. No industry reported a decrease in prices paid for January.

Prices%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202132.063.34.864.2
Dec 202026.568.45.164.4
Nov 202032.062.25.863.9
Oct 202030.763.45.962.7

NOTE: Commodities reported as up in price and down in price are listed in the commodities section of this report.

Backlog of Orders
The ISM® Services Backlog of Orders Index grew in January for the seventh time in the last eight months. The index registered 50.9 percent; 2.2 percentage points higher than the 48.7 percent reported in December. Of the total respondents in January, 43 percent indicated they do not measure backlog of orders.

The eight industries reporting an increase in order backlogs in January — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; Construction; Finance & Insurance; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Wholesale Trade. The five industries that reported a decrease in backlogs in January are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; and Public Administration.

Backlog of
Orders
%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202113.974.012.150.9
Dec 202015.267.017.848.7
Nov 202019.063.317.650.7
Oct 202021.366.212.554.4

New Export Orders
Orders and requests for services and other non-manufacturing activities to be provided outside of the U.S. by domestically based companies contracted in January after five consecutive months of growth. The New Export Orders Index registered 47 percent in January, which is 10.3 percentage points lower than the 57.3 percent reported in December. Of the total respondents in January, 79 percent indicated they either do not perform, or do not separately measure, orders for work outside of the U.S.

The six industries reporting an increase in new export orders in January — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; Wholesale Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The six industries that reported a decrease in exports in January — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Retail Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Construction; and Information. Six industries reported no change in January.

New Export
Orders
%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202113.267.719.247.0
Dec 202020.274.25.657.3
Nov 202015.070.814.250.4
Oct 202019.967.612.553.7

Imports
The Imports Index grew at a faster rate in January, as it registered 53.5 percent, 1.7 percentage points higher than December’s figure of 51.8 percent. Sixty-eight percent of respondents reported that they do not use, or do not track the use of, imported materials.

The eight industries reporting an increase in imports for the month of January — listed in order — are: Transportation & Warehousing; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Educational Services; Retail Trade; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Health Care & Social Assistance; Wholesale Trade; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The three industries reporting a decrease in imports in January are: Construction; Management of Companies & Support Services; and Information. Seven industries reported no change.

Imports%Higher%Same%LowerIndex
Jan 202114.977.08.053.5
Dec 20208.886.05.251.8
Nov 202017.375.37.455.0
Oct 202010.184.85.152.5

Inventory Sentiment
The ISM® Services Inventory Sentiment Index in January registered 49.7 percent, which is 2 percentage points higher than the 47.7 percent reading in December. This is only the fourth month — the others are March, November and December 2020 — in which respondents indicated they believe their inventories are too low since the inception of the Services (formerly Non-Manufacturing) ISM® Report On Business® in 1997.

The eight industries reporting sentiment that their inventories were too high in January — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Other Services; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Information; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Public Administration. The five industries reporting a feeling that their inventories were too low in January are: Transportation & Warehousing; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Retail Trade; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Wholesale Trade.

Inventory
Sentiment
%Too High%About
Right
%Too LowIndex
Jan 202113.073.413.649.7
Dec 202010.275.114.847.7
Nov 202012.375.312.449.9
Oct 202014.074.211.851.1

About This Report
DO NOT CONFUSE THIS NATIONAL REPORT with the various regional purchasing reports released across the country. The national report’s information reflects the entire U.S., while the regional reports contain primarily regional data from their local vicinities. Also, the information in the regional reports is not used in calculating the results of the national report. The information compiled in this report is for the month of January 2021.

The data presented herein is obtained from a survey of supply executives in the services sector based on information they have collected within their respective organizations. ISM® makes no representation, other than that stated within this release, regarding the individual company data collection procedures. The data should be compared to all other economic data sources when used in decision-making.

Data and Method of Presentation
The ServicesISM® Report On Business® (formerly the Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®) is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide. Membership of the Services Business Survey Committee (formerly Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee) is diversified by NAICS, based on each industry’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). The Services Business Survey Committee responses are divided into the following NAICS code categories: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; Finance & Insurance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Accommodation & Food Services; Public Administration; and Other Services (services such as Equipment & Machinery Repairing; Promoting or Administering Religious Activities; Grantmaking; Advocacy; and Providing Dry-Cleaning & Laundry Services, Personal Care Services, Death Care Services, Pet Care Services, Photofinishing Services, Temporary Parking Services, and Dating Services).

Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month. For each of the indicators measured (Business Activity, New Orders, Backlog of Orders, New Export Orders, Inventory Change, Inventory Sentiment, Imports, Prices, Employment and Supplier Deliveries), this report shows the percentage reporting each response and the diffusion index. Responses represent raw data and are never changed. Data is seasonally adjusted for Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment. All seasonal adjustment factors are subject annually to relatively minor changes when conditions warrant them. The remaining indexes have not indicated significant seasonality.

The Services PMI® is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes for four of the indicators with equal weights: Business Activity (seasonally adjusted), New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted) and Supplier Deliveries. Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change and the scope of change. An index reading above 50 percent indicates that the services economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally declining. Supplier Deliveries is an exception. A Supplier Deliveries Index above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries and below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries.

A Services PMI® above 49.2 percent, over time, indicates that the overall economy, or gross domestic product (GDP), is generally expanding; below 49.2 percent, it is generally declining. The distance from 50 percent or 49.2 percent is indicative of the strength of the expansion or decline.

The Services ISM® Report On Business® survey is sent out to Services Business Survey Committee respondents the first part of each month. Respondents are asked to ONLY report on U.S. operations for the current month. ISM® receives survey responses throughout most of any given month, with the majority of respondents generally waiting until late in the month to submit responses to give the most accurate picture of current business activity. ISM® then compiles the report for release on the third business day of the following month.

The industries reporting growth, as indicated in the Services ISM® Report On Business® monthly report, are listed in the order of most growth to least growth. For the industries reporting contraction or decreases, those are listed in the order of the highest level of contraction/decrease to the least level of contraction/decrease.

ISM ROB Content
The Institute for Supply Management® (“ISM”) Report On Business® (Manufacturing, Services and Hospital reports) (“ISM ROB”) contains information, text, files, images, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, and any other materials or content (collectively, “Content”) of ISM (“ISM ROB Content”). ISM ROB Content is protected by copyright, trademark, trade secret, and other laws, and as between you and ISM, ISM owns and retains all rights in the ISM ROB Content. ISM hereby grants you a limited, revocable, nonsublicensable license to access and display on your individual device the ISM ROB Content (excluding any software code) solely for your personal, non-commercial use. The ISM ROB Content shall also contain Content of users and other ISM licensors. Except as provided herein or as explicitly allowed in writing by ISM, you shall not copy, download, stream, capture, reproduce, duplicate, archive, upload, modify, translate, publish, broadcast, transmit, retransmit, distribute, perform, display, sell, or otherwise use any ISM ROB Content.

Except as explicitly and expressly permitted by ISM, you are strictly prohibited from creating works or materials (including, but not limited to: tables, charts, data streams, time-series variables, fonts, icons, link buttons, wallpaper, desktop themes, online postcards, montages, mashups and similar videos, greeting cards, and unlicensed merchandise) that derive from or are based on the ISM ROB Content. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the derivative works or materials are sold, bartered, or given away. You shall not either directly or through the use of any device, software, internet site, web-based service, or other means remove, alter, bypass, avoid, interfere with, or circumvent any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices marked on the Content or any digital rights management mechanism, device, or other content protection or access control measure associated with the Content including geo-filtering mechanisms. Without prior written authorization from ISM, you shall not build a business utilizing the Content, whether or not for profit.

You shall not create, recreate, distribute, incorporate in other work, or advertise an index of any portion of the Content unless you receive prior written authorization from ISM. Requests for permission to reproduce or distribute ISM ROB Content can be made by contacting in writing at: ISM Research, Institute for Supply Management, 309 W. Elliot Road, Suite 113, Tempe, AZ 85284-1556, or by emailing [email protected]; subject: Content Request.

ISM shall not have any liability, duty, or obligation for or relating to the ISM ROB Content or other information contained herein, any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or delays in providing any ISM ROB Content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. In no event shall ISM be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, arising out of the use of the ISM ROB. Report On Business®, Manufacturing PMI®, Services PMI®, and Hospital PMI are registered trademarks of Institute for Supply Management®. Institute for Supply Management® and ISM® are registered trademarks of Institute for Supply Management, Inc.

About Institute for Supply Management®
Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) serves supply management professionals in more than 90 countries. Its 50,000 members around the world manage about US$1 trillion in corporate and government supply chain procurement annually. Founded in 1915 as the first supply management institute in the world, ISM is committed to advancing the practice of supply management to drive value and competitive advantage for its members, contributing to a prosperous and sustainable world. ISM leads the profession through the ISM Report On Business®, its highly regarded certification programs and the ISM Mastery Model®. This report has been issued by the association since 1931, except for a four-year interruption during World War II.

The full text version of the Services ISM® Report On Business® is posted on ISM®‘s website at www.ismrob.org on the third business day* of every month after 10:00 a.m. ET.

The next Services ISM® Report On Business® featuring February 2021 data will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

*Unless the New York Stock Exchange is closed.

S. Jack Heffernan Ph.Dhttps://www.shayneheffernan.com
S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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