The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing production managers index (PMI) came in at 41.8 vs. 37.9 expected in April and compared to 52.5 the month before. While the reading was better than expected, the PMI is now at the lowest point in 11 years, since the end of the Great Recession. The non-manufacturing index, which measures activity in the services industry, has contracted for the first time since December 2009.
- The ISM non-manufacturing PMI hit an 11-year low at 41.8, slightly above expectations.
- Employment dropped sharply from 47 to 30, while new orders crashed from 52.9 to 32.9.
- The gap between the Markit and ISM readings for non-manufacturing activity continues to widen.
The ISM non-manufacturing index posted the first contraction in services since December 2009. Employment fell 17 points to 30, while new orders fell from 52.9 to 32.9. Prices paid ticked upward 5.1 points to 55.1, indicating increased prices due to constricted supply chains as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Business activity slumped 22 points from 48 to 26, while supplier deliveries rose from 62.1 to 78.3.
"Respondents are concerned about the continuing coronavirus impacts on the supply chain, operational capacity, human resources and finances, as well as the uncertain timelines for the resumption of business and a return to normality," the report revealed.
The spread between Markit Services PMI vs ISM Non-Manufacturing continues to widen to extremes pic.twitter.com/fYAWp6btlw
— Not Jim Cramer (@Not_Jim_Cramer) May 5, 2020
The services sector has been particularly badly hit by the lockdown procedures implemented around the country, in most cases prohibiting close contact with other people and shutting down businesses deemed non-essential. Restaurants, casinos, bars, and other service industries have been shut down, while tourism-related businesses have suffered from lockdown procedures and greatly reduced tourism amid worldwide travel restrictions.
Gold prices slipped below $1,700 following the release of the ISM report, which showed activity slightly above market expectations. Spot gold last traded at $1,697.34/oz, up 0.51% with a high of $1,708.33/oz and a low of $1,693.81/oz. The services sector has now contracted for the first time since the Great Recession, and further contraction is likely as the collapsing labor market continues to impact other areas of the US economy.