Service industry shows mixed activity in August. Unpredictable conditions ahead?

While the overall non-manufacturing index increased, the business activity index declined 2.8 percent since July, according to a new report from the Institute for Supply Management.

This chart shows non-manufacturing business activity data since 2005 from the Institute for Supply Management. The business activity index declined 2.8 percent since July.

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business indicating that service related business activity was mixed in August with the business activity component declining while the overall non-manufacturing index improved to 53.7 from 52.6 in July.

At 55.6 the business activity index declined 2.80% since July falling 1.42% below the level seen a year earlier.

This month, service industry respondents are sounding mixed to negative with some reporting "unpredictable" conditions, tighter budgets or even palpable slowdown:

"Markets and customers we serve remain strong and have not caused any adverse impact to our business." (Management of Companies & Support Services)

"Economy still stagnant. Small jobs keeping us going. Expect some improvement in capital spending in fourth quarter." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)

"Small slowdown in tourism. Commodity prices on the rise." (Arts, Entertainment & Recreation)

"Budgets are tighter; there are fewer new purchases being pursued that were not planned or budgeted." (Finance & Insurance)

"Overall conditions continue to be unpredictable. Sales are inconsistent as customers reel to the news of the day, which creates havoc on the supply chain to respond." (Retail Trade)

"Customers appear to be refocusing their resources on internal costs and efficiencies." (Wholesale Trade)

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