For the 32nd consecutive month, the non-manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy grew in November. But, like the manufacturing sector, it grew more slowly than in October.
The non-manufacturing business activity index compiled by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) was 58.5% last month, down 1.5 percentage points from October's 60%. A figure above 50% indicates that the non-manufacturing sector generally is expanding; a figure below 50% indicates the sector is contracting.
"There is still significant concern about the relatively high level of energy prices and its impact on freight costs and on the prices of other materials and services," notes 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. "There is also concern about shortages of materials in some categories and about the availability of transportation service."