Purchasing Managers Upbeat in July Despite Labor Uncertainty

This morning, the ISM non-manufacturing index surprised to the upside, as optimism rose among U.S. service sector purchasing managers. The 58.1 July reading was well above the 55 median forecast and the highest since February 2019. The new orders index surged from 61.6 to 67.7, the highest level since record keeping began in 1997, while the business activity index flashed its strongest reading since 2004. Service sector managers reported concern about the virus, but were quite positive on business conditions going forward. Although the ISM survey represents “soft data,” strong anecdotal evidence from companies on the ground indicate much-needed resilience in the face of uncertainty.

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