KEY INDEX POSTS DISAPPOINTING DATA HEADING INTO 2014
America’s service economy ended 2013 on a troubling note, according to data released this week from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).
The ISM’s index dipped from 53.9 to 53 in November – still in growth territory but well below expectations (and the lowest increase in six months). Compounding the disappointment was a slide in inventories (from 54 to 48) and a steep drop in new orders (from 56.4 to 49.4).
Also half of the industries serviced indicated contraction – hardly a ringing endorsement of the “breakthrough” year for the economy heralded by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Don’t fret, though …
“Despite the substantial decrease in the New Orders Index, respondents’ comments predominately reflect that business conditions are stable,” ISM’s official press release noted.
So … what’s the service economy’s chief concern? If you guessed Obamacare, there’s a prize at the door for you.
“It is uncertain what impact the Affordable Healthcare Act will have on hiring and full-time status in 2014 as more companies are re-evaluating their healthcare benefits strategies for all positions,” one of the index’s respondents noted.