US service data hints at a solid GDP recovery

 
Tim Wallace
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HOPES that the US economy is back on track were bolstered yesterday as data showed a small acceleration in services sector output growth in May, driven by a rise in new orders.

The Institute of Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index came in at 53.7, slightly up from the 53.5 reported in April. The business activity index stood at 55.6 and the new orders index rose to 55.5, pointing to growth. But the employment component came in at 50.8 – barely above the “no change” level of 50.

“At this level, the index would be consistent with GDP growth of around two per cent,” said Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth.

“Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering the index was up at 57.3 in February and pointing to GDP growth of more than three per cent,” he added.