The closely-watched ISM manufacturing index number came in slightly better than expected, at a one-point increase from 52.4 to 53.4 for March. The production and employment components rose, while new orders fell back a bit. Improvement here is tempered, but steady.
The ISM non-manufacturing index, which was released a few days later, declined a bit from 57.3 to 56.0, which was slightly larger than anticipated. Components were mixed as new orders and general business activity were down, but employment improved and remains robust under this particular index’s measure. Read more