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Economy in Brief

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index Fell Again
by Tom Moeller June 3, 2005

The May Business Activity Index for the non-manufacturing sector fell to 58.5 from 61.7 in April, reported the Institute for Supply Management. The average level so far this year of 60.5 is below the 2004 average of 62.4. Consensus expectations had been for a reading of 60.0 for May.

Since the series' inception in 1997 there has been a 50% correlation between the Business Activity Index and the q/q change in real GDP for services plus construction.

Both the new orders index and the employment indexes rose slightly m/m but remained well off the earlier highs. Since the series' inception in 1997 there has been a 60% correlation between the level of the ISM non-manufacturing employment index and the m/m change in payroll employment in the service producing plus the construction industries.

Pricing power dropped again m/m to the lowest level since August 2003.

ISM surveys more than 370 purchasing managers in more than 62 industries including construction, law firms, hospitals, government and retailers. The non-manufacturing survey dates only to July 1997, therefore its seasonal adjustment should be viewed tentatively.

Business Activity Index for the non-manufacturing sector reflects a question separate from the subgroups mentioned above. In contrast, the NAPM manufacturing sector composite index is a weighted average five components.

ISM Nonmanufacturing Survey May April May  '04 2004 2003 2002
Business Activity Index 58.5 61.7 63.3 62.4 58.2 55.1
Prices Index 57.9 61.9 72.0 69.0 56.8 54.0
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