Markit Services PMI: 'Slowest New Business Growth Since October 2017'

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by: Doug Short

By Jill Mislinski

The November US Services Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 54.7 percent, down 0.1 from the final October estimate of 54.8. The Investing.com consensus was for 54.4 percent. Markit's Services PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.

Here is the opening from the latest press release:

Commenting on the PMI data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said: “The PMI surveys paint a picture of an economy growing at a solid annual rate of 2.5% so far in the fourth quarter, and continuing to add jobs in impressive numbers. Although some cooling in the rate of job creation was seen in November, the surveys are still pointing to payrolls growing at monthly rate of around 185,000.

“The surveys therefore add to evidence that the domestic economy remains in good health, generating balanced growth across both manufacturing and services and increasingly outperforming other major economies.

“However, while new business growth remained encouragingly resilient, it has eased to the lowest in over a year as demand showed some signs of softening, linked partly to growing concerns over trade wars, slower global demand growth, rising political uncertainty and tighter financial conditions. Such concerns have also dampened business expectations about the year ahead, adding to signs that growth may have peaked, though any slowing in growth looks likely to be only modest.” [Press Release]

Here is a snapshot of the series since mid-2012.

Here is an overlay with the equivalent PMI survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management, which they refer to as "Non-Manufacturing" (see our full article on this series here). Over the past year, the ISM metric has been significantly the more volatile of the two.

Markit and ISM Services PMI

The next chart uses a three-month moving average of the two rather volatile series to facilitate our understanding of the current trend. Since early in 2016, the ISM metric has shown stronger growth than the Markit counterpart.

Markit Services PMI

Both series weakened since 2015 and saw an uptick in the latter half of 2016. The interim three-month moving average of the Markit Services index peaked in August of 2014. The ISM index peaked in September of 2015. The two were fairly closely aligned at the beginning of 2016, but they diverged early with the Markit index signaling noticeably weaker growth.

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