The ISM manufacturing index for August was weaker than expected, coming in at a slight decline to 49.6 versus an expected 50.0. New orders, production and employment were all down slightly, while supplier deliveries and inventories helped. Construction spending fell -0.9% in July, despite calls for a slight gain of a half-percent or so. On the other hand, auto sales rose to an annual rate of 14.52 million units for August—up from 14.1 in July—so buying conditions here are improving.
The non-manufacturing ISM rose strongly from 52.6 in July to 53.7 in August, which was largely unexpected and above a forecast of no change. The employment index rose notably, while the new orders and general business activity pieces were a bit weaker. This is perhaps unsurprising, as our economy has shown more strength and general growth in service sectors than it has in manufacturing (a multi-decade trend). Read more