The U.S. manufacturing sector may be in deep and continued contraction, but according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Non-manufacturing Index, the U.S. service sector–the bulk of the U.S. economy–hit a four-month high in December. The non-manufacturing index climbed to 55 in the month, from 53.9 in November. That 55 reading exceeded the median forecast from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
In contrast the ISM index for manufacturing contracted for a fifth month in December and hit its lowest reading since 2009.
Not everything below the top line in the service survey was positive. The sub-index for new orders fell to a three-month low at 54.9, still well above the 50 level in this survey that separates expansion from contraction. The sub-index for service sector employment slid to 55.2 from 55.5.
In a separate but complimentary survey for the service sector the IHS Markit survey rose to a five-month high of 52.8 in December from 51.6.