As the growth rate of the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy was slowing in August, the growth rate among non-manufacturers was accelerating.
The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) business activity index for non-manufacturing, which includes mining, construction and finance, reached 65% last month, up 4.5 percentage points from 60.5% in July. The new orders index, one of nine elements of the overall index, was up 3.9 points to 65.8%; the employment index was up 3.4 points to 59.6%; and the new export orders index was up 10 points to 63.5%, the Tempe, Ariz.-based ISM reported on September 6.
The prices non-manufacturers paid in August for materials and services continued to rise but at a slower rate than in July. The August price index was 67.1%, down 3.2 points from 70.3% in July. Nevertheless, among non-manufacturers there was "concern about the continuing increase in oil and gas prices and its impact on the prices of other things and on budgets," relates Ralph G. Kauffman, chair of ISM's non-manufacturing business survey committee and coordinator of the supply chain management program at the University of Houston-Downtown.
The data were derived from information collected from more than 370 purchasing and supply executives in the non-manufacturing sector.