Seeking Alpha
Analyst, REITs
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)

Today, the Institute for Supply Management released its latest non-manufacturing report on business, indicating that service-related business activity continued to expand in January. However, assessments were slightly lower than last month, with the business activity component declining and the overall non-manufacturing index edging down slightly to 55.2 from 55.7.

At 56.4, the business activity index declined a notable 7.24% since December, falling 5.21% below the level seen a year earlier. This month, service industry respondents are sounding mixed, reporting some cautious optimism as well as "soft" assessments of conditions:

  • "Sales are up slightly compared to this same period last year. This is offset by slight increases in costs for personnel benefits, fuel and other operating costs." (Public Administration)
  • "Business is good, but we find ourselves in a very competitive environment." (Construction)
  • "No change in business levels since prior month, but optimism growing that commercial and industrial construction will experience growth in 2013." (Real Estate, Rental and Leasing)
  • "Healthcare reform causing continued slowdown and less investment." (Health Care and Social Assistance)
  • "Seeing increasing prices on services and goods -- some not substantiated. Business outlook continues to show small signs of improvement in parts of our business, but other parts are lagging behind." (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)
  • "There seems to be some stabilization in recent months. Business seems a little more confident, and consumers are participating once again." (Retail Trade)
  • "Business is slightly softer than this time last year, but there are a lot of projects on the horizon, which gives us confidence." (Wholesale Trade)