The expansion in the non-manufacturing sector of the United States continued at a slightly slower pace in March, a data released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday said.
On the other hand, the service firms saw a surge in export orders last month.
The non-manufacturing purchasing managers index of ISM came in at 56.5 last month from February’s 56.9. Several economists have predicted PMI to hold at 56.9 last month.
In a report, the ISM said that despite a minor dip in the PMI, “the majority of comments by the respondents reflect stability and are mostly optimistic about the business conditions and the country’s overall economy”.
Anthony Nieves, who oversees the ISM survey, said, “With 14 out of 18 industries reporting growth, we are on the right track.”
The economists were bolstered by the ISM nonmanufacturing numbers, after the manufacturing report of last week showed weaker growth in the country’s factory sector.
In a research note, Amherst Pierpont Securities chief economist Stephen Stanley, said, “The ISM nonmanufacturing survey findings are reassuring, underscoring the likelihood that much of the weakness seen in the economic data over the past month or so is either narrowly based (driven by softness in manufacturing and mining), caused by temporary factors, or both.”
The ISM report showed non-manufacturers reporting mixed results on several business categories in March.
The new orders index of ISM rose 57.8 last month from 56.7 in February.
The export index surged to 59.0 from 53.0. The ISM factory report, released last week, showed the foreign orders contracting.
The ISM employment index rose to 56.6 from 56.4. On the other hand, the price index jumped to 52.4 from 49.7 in February.