Slight Beat In Services ISM Ignored Due To Weakest Employment Index Since March 2010; Respondents Uniformly Bearish

With everyone focusing on the jobs number this Friday, following today's two contrasting data pieces from the abysmal Challenger layoffs report and the better than expected ADP report, one can see why the just released September Non-Manufacturing ISM, which came in modestly better than expected, in fact brings less than great news. While the overall NMI came at 53, a drop from 53.3, but better than expected 52.8, it is the Employment index that is attracting everyone's attention, printing at 48.7, down from 51.6: the lowest from March 2010, which has offset an improvement in both New Orders and Business Activity. And the kicker, all the responses in the survey were negative across the board with this one taking first prize: "It appears everyone is waiting to see what happens next. No trust in the economy or the federal government to do what is needed."Q.E.D.

More respondents:

  • "Weak consumer confidence and high gas prices are placing downward pressure on retail sales volume." (Information)
  • "Business volume outlook and confidence across many market areas in North America appear to be softening." (Mining)
  • "The 2012 outlook is not optimistic; though we keep hoping for a rebound, we see little sign of an improved economy — nothing at least that will spur growth, investment or expansion. Improved investment performance in early 2011 caused us to begin several large capital projects, and although we have broken ground, we cannot help but question if our timing was right." (Educational Services)
  • "Third and fourth quarters appear to be slowing down in order volumes. Uncertainty over U.S. and European economy is causing clients to hold off on new orders." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)
  • "Negative forecast for housing market's future leads us to think we will be at current levels of business at best for the foreseeable future." (Wholesale Trade)

Full breakdown:

ISM Services vs Sentiment courtesy of Macrostory's Tony Pallotta

And just Employment:

Full report