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AFP
July 7, 2020

US services sector returned to growth in June: survey

National

AFP
July 7, 2020

WASHINGTON: The US services sector grew in June after the coronavirus pandemic caused its steepest-ever contraction the month prior, an industry survey said on Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management´s (ISM) non-manufacturing index was at 57.1 percent in June, well above expectations and an increase of 11.7 percentage points from May — the biggest one-month jump ever. Anything above 50 percent indicates expansion in the sector crucial to the world´s largest economy.

The index´s reading of 45.4 percent in May was down 10.7 percent from the month prior and part of a two-month stretch of contraction as the pandemic forced businesses closed nationwide, but the latest June data indicates activity has resumed, at least tentatively, even if the virus remains a threat. “Respondents remain concerned about the coronavirus and the more recent civil unrest; however, they are cautiously optimistic about business conditions and the economy as businesses are beginning to reopen,” the survey´s chair Anthony Nieves said in a statement.

New orders were up nearly 20 points at 61.6 percent, business activity was up a quarter to 66 percent while employment jumped 11.3 points to 43.1 percent, though that indicator remained in contraction.—