Economic activity in the U.S. non-manufacturing sector (services sector) grew in September for the first time in 11 months according to a survey of purchasing and supply executives by the Institute for Supply Management.

Even with the overall month-over-month growth reflected in the report this month, respondents' comments vary by industry and remain mixed about business conditions and the overall economy, said Anthony Nieves, chair of ISM's Non-Manufacturing Business Survey committee and senior vice president for supply for Hilton Hotels Corp.

Growing Industries

Five of 13 industries in the survey showed growth, according to the Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI). Growing industries in the report, listed in order, are: Utilities; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; Construction; and Wholesale Trade.

The NMI was 50.9 percent in September, compared with 48.4 percent in August. Readings above 50 indicate economic expansion. Economic activity had fallen for the last 11 months.

Business Activity

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index was up 3.8 percentage points to 55.1 percent, the second consecutive month of growth in the index since September 2008.

New Orders

The New Orders Index was up 4.3 percentage points to 54.2 percent while the Employment Index was up by 0.8 percentage points to 44.3 percent.


Prices were falling, according to the Prices Index, which was down 14.3 percentage points to 48.8 percent in September. That was a “significant reversal and decrease in prices from August,” according to ISM.

Contracting Industries

The thirteen industries reporting contraction were, in order: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Accommodation & Food Services; Mining; Public Administration; Other Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Information; Management of Companies & Support Services; Finance & Insurance; Educational Services; and Transportation & Warehousing.