Non-manufacturing shows decent growth in October, reports ISM

Non-manufacturing activity continued to show solid growth in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Report on Business. The ISM’s index to measure growth—the NMI—inched up 1.0 percent to 55.4 in October.

By ·

Non-manufacturing activity continued to show solid growth in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Report on Business.

The ISM’s index to measure growth—the NMI—inched up 1.0 percent to 55.4 in October. A reading above 50 represents growth. ISM said that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September for the 46th consecutive month.

Of the four key metrics in the report, including the NMI, three grew in October, with Business Activity/Production up 4.6 percent to 59.7 and Employment up 3.5 percent to 56.2. New Orders dipped 2.8 percent to 56.8. Even with the decline in October, New Orders have grown for 51 consecutive months, the report noted.

“The report looks very good overall, with the NMI up slightly compared to the 12-month average of 55.0,” said Tony Nieves, chair of the ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in an interview. “Part of the reason for that is business activity being up 4.6 percent. Even though New Orders were down, it was over 60 in August and it is still in a good place. Employment was also strong and is also a driver for October’s gains.”

The majority of ISM member respondent comments in the report were generally positive, with the government shutdown in October having, in some cases, what Nieves described as a psychological impact that did not truly show up in the report’s numbers.

Nieves said that October’s numbers are positive and provide a certain amount of confidence heading into the fourth quarter compared to a year ago at this time.

“There is still a degree of uncertainty there but not to the same extent,” he said. “Most of the uncertainty seems to lie around what the government is going to be doing in regards to healthcare reform and the overall fiscal policy. But it appears to be more solid than what we saw last year.”

Inventories in October were flat from September at 54.5, which Nieves said is in line with the non-manufacturing sector keeping a watchful eye on inventories and not wanting to be caught with too much extra stock.

“That is the prevailing practice for the sector as it is more of a demand-pull environment and less reliant on inventories having to deal with cycle times like in manufacturing,” he explained. “I don’t look at it as being anything other than inventory burn off or a concerted effort to really reduce inventory levels and not keeping it tied up on shelves which is not cost efficient. The inventory sentiment, which is indigenous to this report, is still not too high when you compare it to current business levels.”

Supplier Deliveries and Backlog of Orders were down 1.0 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, at 49.0 and 50.0.

On a year-to-date basis through October, Nieves said non-manufacturing has been on a path of slow incremental growth that appears to be stable at this point in time.

What’s more, he said things are currently trending better for the sector than previously forecasted in the ISM’s most recent semiannual report from April.

“We have seen an uptick in revenue and will have a better idea when the December numbers come out, but we had such a small projection of business levels coming out of that forecast,” he said. “All indications when you look at strong New Orders and Business Activity will be interesting to keep an eye on.”


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

ISM · NMI · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Face security threats head-on. Protect data beyond perimeter.
Traditional Data Loss Protection (DLP) solutions present a number of serious shortcomings and challenges for companies deploying them, creating a clear gap in the market.
Download Today!
From the January 2018 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and the most successful shippers will be those that are able to mitigate their impact on profitability. And, the right technology will play an increasingly vital role in driving efficiencies across the global logistics network.
The Future of Retail Distribution
Navigating the Reverse Supply Chain for Connected Devices
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Securing IoT data across the connected supply chain
Learn why a holistic approach to IAM is the most effective way to govern access to your systems and information requested by your partners, vendors, customers, and connected devices.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...
2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...

Building the NextGen Supply Chain: Keeping pace with the digital economy
Peerless Media’s 2017 Virtual Summit shows how creating a data-rich ecosystem can eliminate...
2017 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year: Mallinckrodt; Mastering and managing complexity
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships...