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Today, the Institute for Supply Management released its latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business, indicating that service-related business activity continued to expand in May. The overall non-manufacturing index climbed to 53.7 from last month's reading of 53.1. At 56.5 the business activity index improved since last month, climbing 2.73% above the level seen a year earlier.

This month, service industry respondents are sounding mixed to flat. Some respondents were citing improving activity, but also uncertainty and lingering weakness:

  • "Sales remain slightly higher than the same period last year, but still below pre-recession sales figures." (Public Administration)
  • "The job order market slowed in April/May. We saw a slight increase in employment due to working down the order/inquiry backlog." (Professional, Scientific and Technical Services)
  • "Business seems to be improving through the second half of the year." (Information)
  • "Fairly stable the last month; overall optimistic going forward." (Accommodation and Food Services)
  • "The flat sequential sales -- which began in January 2012 -- are still continuing. At this point, we do not predict any lift in the foreseeable future. We do not see any negatives; it appears that business has reached its 'cruising altitude' and is staying there." (Wholesale Trade)
  • "Healthcare reform and sequestration are having a strong negative impact on business." (Health Care and Social Assistance)
  • "North America continues to improve at a modest rate. Europe is still a problem for global recovery." (Mining)

Source: ISM Non-Manufacturing Report On Business: May 2013