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The non-manufacturing sector of the economy grew in July for the 78th month in a row in July.

In the latest Non-Manufactring Instutute for Supply Management Report On Business, the nation’s purchasing and supply executives say the Non-Manufacturing Index dipped by 1.0% in July -- to 55.5%. That shows that while the sector continued to grow, the pace was a little slower

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while below that suggests contraction.

The New Orders Index was up 0.4% to 60.3%, while the Employment Index fell to 51.4% from its June reading of 52.7%.

The Prices Index fell for the fourth straight month -- dropping 3.6% to 51.9%.

Industry performance

The 15 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in July were:

  1. Arts, Entertainment & Recreation;
  2. Educational Services;
  3. Accommodation & Food Services;
  4. Real Estate, Rental & Leasing;
  5. Retail Trade;
  6. Utilities;
  7. Health Care & Social Assistance;
  8. Public Administration;
  9. Finance & Insurance;
  10. Management of Companies & Support Services;
  11. Transportation & Warehousing;
  12. Wholesale Trade;
  13. Construction;
  14. Information; and
  15. Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.

The three industries reporting contraction were:

  1. Other Services;
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; and
  3. Mining.
Photo (c) Marzky Ragsac Jr. - Fotolia

Jobless claims

First-time applications for state unemployment benefits rose again last week.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims came in at a seasonally adjusted 269,000 in the week ended July 30 -- up 3,000 following a surge of 10,000 the previous week. Even with that increase, the total number of claims remains below 300,000 for the 74th consecutive week, the longest streak since 1973

The four-week moving average, which lacks the weekly headcount's volatility and is considered a more accurate job-market picture, rose 3,750 to 260,250.

The complete report is available on the DOL website.

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