ISM services index Sept chart
ISM services index


  • employment index 53.4 versus 54.7 prior
  • new orders index 51.8 versus 57.5 prior
  • prices paid index 58.9 versus 58.9 prior
  • new export orders 63.7 versus 62.1 prior
  • imports 50.6 versus 52.3 prior
  • backlog of orders 48.6 versus 41.8 prior
  • inventories 54.2 versus 57.7 prior
  • supplier deliveries 50.4 versus 48.5 prior
  • inventory sentiment 54.8 versus 61.5 prior

This is a decent reading and stresses that the US economy continues to expand. The sharp drop in new orders is something of a concern though.

Comments in the report:

  • “Prices are coming down across the board for most commodities. However, there are still a few areas where supply is not available on a consistent basis, or what is being delivered is not to specifications.” [Accommodation & Food Services]
  • “Conditions remain favorable for mechanical contractors. New construction projects continue to launch. We are still seeing opportunities for cost reductions across many commodities. Inventory levels on finished goods remain strong.” [Construction]
  • “The market is stable at this time.” [Educational Services]
  • “I think the outlook of our company and the industry is a slow but steady improvement — from a plethora of unknowns to a daily sense of being able to manage the rigors of the supply chain.” [Health Care & Social Assistance]
  • “The market for the industry keeps looking positive, although there is a higher concentration of new projects at emerging markets. Opportunities in traditional markets like the U.S. or Europe have decreased, and my organization has managed to maintain or renew contracts that started two or three years ago.” [Information]
  • “Bank and leasing company volume seems to be falling as credit tightens, thus causing a slowdown in related services industries. Bankruptcy work is picking up.” [Management of Companies & Support Services]
  • “The fourth quarter is looking better than forecast, which is good because the third quarter of 2023 was below plan. Our customers are cautiously optimistic for a solid domestic performance, despite troubles in select foreign markets.” [Professional, Scientific & Technical Services]
  • “Business is ramping up in preparation for the holiday season. Our supply chain is strong.” [Retail Trade]
  • “Higher level of orders in past month. Business activity is stabilizing to last year’s numbers.” [Transportation & Warehousing]
  • “Other than increases in fuel costs and some materials, activity and sales have been relatively stable month over month. However, a seasonal decrease in water sales is anticipated as cooler temperatures set in. Regional housing development projects continue to come online, in spite of higher interest rates.” [Utilities]
  • “Suppliers’ lead times are approaching ‘normal.’ Electronic equipment containing chips continues to be on allocation.” [Wholesale Trade]