Today's economic data has been absolutely abysmal. We know, we know, snow. However, first the atrocious ADP number, and then the abysmal Services ISM employment index plunging at an unseen pace, should give some pause for thought. It appears to have done so with Goldman's chief economist, the same guy who a month ago was expecting 3.0% GDP growth in Q1, and who just cut his February NFP forecast for this Friday from 145K to 125K.
BOTTOM LINE: The ISM nonmanufacturing index was weaker than expected in February. Some survey respondents cited adverse weather conditions as a cause of slower activity.
1. The ISM nonmanufacturing index fell to 51.6 in February (vs. consensus 53.5) from 54.0 in January. By component, business activity (-1.7pt to 54.6) and employment (-8.9pt to 47.5) fell, while new orders (+0.4pt to 51.3) rose a touch. The inventory index?which is not seasonally adjusted?was unchanged at 50.5 on an n.s.a. basis but seems to have declined substantially on an s.a. basis. Some survey respondents, in particular those in the wholesale trade and construction sectors, cited adverse weather conditions as a cause of slower activity. February's decline leaves the ISM nonmanufacturing index at its lowest level since February 2010.
2. The ISM composite index?including both the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing surveys?fell 1.9pt to 51.8 in February. The composite index places considerably more weight on the nonmanufacturing survey.
3. As a result of the sharp decline in the employment component of the nonmanufacturing index, we have reduced our payrolls forecast to 125k and our private payrolls forecast to 130k
Don't worry though: it's the snow.
Snow which can practically slam a $17 trillion economy dead in its tracks.