Here’s What the Non-Manufacturing Report Says About the U.S. Economy

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The 10-second takeaway from the January 2013 Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business is captured by a comment from Anthony Nieves, who chairs the Institute for Supply Management. Nieves said: “Respondents’ comments are mixed about the economy and business conditions; however, the majority of respondents are optimistic about the overall direction.”

January’s NMI came in at 55.2 percent, 0.5 points lower than December’s reading, but a fraction higher than estimates. This reading suggests that overall non-manufacturing business activity is growing, but the rate of growth has slowed down slightly. The 12-month average growth rate for the NMI is 54.5.

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Tuesday’s NMI report follows the comparable manufacturing PMI report, which was released last Friday. The manufacturing PMI made a tremendous 2.9 percent leap indicating an acceleration in the rate of manufacturing sector growth. The manufacturing PMI was supported by factory orders data, released on Monday.

However, what’s really interesting about the January report is the increase in the employment index…

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