ISM services Nov 2023


  • Employment index 50.7 versus 50.2 prior
  • New orders index 55.5 versus 55.5 prior
  • Prices paid index 58.3 versus 58.6 prior
  • New export orders 53.6 versus 48.8 prior
  • Imports 53.7 versus 60.0 prior
  • Backlog of orders 49.1 versus 50.9 prior
  • Inventories 55.4 versus 49.5 prior
  • Supplier deliveries 49.6 versus 47.5 prior
  • Inventory sentiment 62.2 versus 54.4 prior

These are steady numbers that point to a decent economy. There's no recession in the data but there isn't much growth either and I think the market is fine with that.

Comments in the report from respondents:

  • “Restaurant sales and traffic trends are consistent with the previous month and at our annual seasonal lows — should pick up again in December. We continue to trend positive to pre-pandemic and last year.” [Accommodation & Food Services]
  • “Opportunities across the construction industry remains strong. The labor market for skilled trades workers is tight.” [Construction]
  • “Supplies and merchandise are holding steady.” [Educational Services]
  • “Business conditions remain steady to the end of 2023. Annual cost escalations are a bit higher than planned, more than 5 percent versus 3 percent due to overall economic conditions and concerns.” (Finance & Insurance)
  • “Signs of recovery are on the horizon — (profit) margins remain tight, but revenue is improving and labor appears to be stabilizing. Supply chains are operating well, but a few major manufacturers continue to show signs of constraints that have persisted for some time. Capital investment remains constrained; however, optimism has returned for a turnaround in calendar year 2024.” [Health Care & Social Assistance]
  • “There are fewer new projects in comparison to last month and November 2022. Customers are not requesting quotes for new services.” [Information]
  • “Customers are conservative in spending, so competition to maintain market share is tight.” [Management of Companies & Support Services]
  • “Fourth-quarter revenues lower than projected. Seeing negative revenues trend into the first quarter of the new year. We remain positive yet concerned about 2024.” [Professional, Scientific & Technical Services]
  • “Prices for most items increasing, but only slightly. Increase in pricing for services much more noticeable and impactful on the organization.” [Public Administration]
  • “Candidate expectations during the hiring process have made staffing up more difficult.” [Retail Trade]
  • “Solid activity heading into the final stretch of the fourth quarter.” [Transportation & Warehousing]
  • “Labor, equipment and material price escalation requests are increasing, both through existing contracts as well as re-pricing of markets via requests for proposal.” [Utilities]
  • “A comparably flat month of business activity — no major swings one way or the other. Inventories in our extended supply chain look healthy, and fill rates are improving.” [Wholesale Trade]