Tempe, Arizona (PPD) — The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI came in at 52.5% in March, beating the consensus forecast and only 4.8% lower than the reading in February (57.3%).
Forecasts ranged from a low of 34.8 to a high of 47.0. The consensus forecast was 43.0.
The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index fell 9.8% to 48%, down from a reading of 57.8%. That reflects contraction for the first time since July 2009, when the index registered 47.2%.
The New Orders Index came in at 52.9%, 10.2% down from the reading of 63.1% in February. The Employment Index fell 8.6% to 47% from the February reading of 55.6%.
The nine non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in March — listed in order — are: Health Care & Social Assistance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Public Administration; Utilities; Finance & Insurance; Construction; Management of Companies & Support Services; Wholesale Trade; and Information. The seven industries reporting a decrease in March — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Mining; Other Services; Retail Trade; and Educational Services.
WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING
- “Significant shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), chemical reagents, test swabs and other basic medical supplies persist. Extreme sourcing measures are required to procure necessary supplies for basic operations. Distributor allocations continue across the board.” (Health Care & Social Assistance)
- “Severe impact to operations as a result of COVID-19. Major challenges in obtaining needed supplies for first responders, including N95 masks, gowns, disinfecting products and medical supplies. As a local government, we are experiencing a significant increase in activity due to emergency-response efforts. Starting to experience inappropriate price increases for short-supply items.” (Public Administration)
- “Significant demand disruption caused by the coronavirus.” (Accommodation & Food Services)
- “The coronavirus is having an impact, but not as much as we thought it would at this point. All sectors are staying busy. Although there are many customer concerns, we are finding work-arounds and adapting to the ever-changing situation.” (Construction)
- “COVID-19 shelter-in-place order in effect. Offices closed except for essential personnel.” (Educational Services)
- “Like most businesses, we cannot fully project how the coronavirus will impact us. By displaying prudence and avoiding panic, we are trying to navigate this crisis. As human capital is our greatest expense, protecting that capital is job one. Supply chains are overstressed and will normalize only when the panic subsides.” (Information)
- “COVID-19 has greatly impacted daily operations. All staff personnel are telecommuting, and customer concerns have shifted from normal activities to preventative measures.” (Management of Companies & Support Services)
- “We are experiencing no real issues from a business perspective, although COVID-19 has forced us to reconsider elements of how our workforce gets things done.” (Mining)
- “As expected for many industries (whether manufacturing or non-manufacturing), purchasing has slowed as we evaluate the economic climate and prepare for long-term effects.” (Retail Trade)
- “The coronavirus is effecting every aspect of business.” (Real Estate, Rental & Leasing)