Services PMI® at 55.3%


February 2021 Services ISM® Report On Business®

Business Activity Index at 55.5%
New Orders Index at 51.9%
Employment Index at 52.7%
Supplier Deliveries Index at 60.8%

(Tempe, Arizona) – Economic activity in the services sector grew in February for the ninth month in a row, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Services ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., A.P.P., CFPM, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Services Business Survey Committee: “The Services PMI® registered 55.3 percent, 3.4 percentage points lower than the January reading of 58.7 percent. This reading indicates the ninth straight month of growth for the services sector, which has expanded for all but two of the last 133 months.

“The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 60.8 percent, up 3 percentage points from January’s reading of 57.8 percent. (Supplier Deliveries is the only ISM® Report On Business® index that is inversed; a reading of above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, which is typical as the economy improves and customer demand increases.)

“The Prices Index figure of 71.8 percent is 7.6 percentage points higher than the January reading of 64.2 percent, indicating that prices increased in February, and at a faster rate. According to the Services PMI®, 17 services industries reported growth. The composite index indicated growth for the ninth consecutive month after a two-month contraction in April and May. There was a pullback in the rate of growth in the services sector in February. Respondents are mostly optimistic about business recovery and the economy. Production-capacity constraints, material shortages and challenges in logistics and human resources are impacting the supply chain,” says Nieves.

INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE

The 17 services industries reporting growth in February — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Wholesale Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Construction; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Public Administration; Utilities; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Finance & Insurance; Management of Companies & Support Services; Information; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Educational Services; Other Services; and Mining. The only industry reporting contraction in February is Real Estate, Rental & Leasing.

WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING

  • “Suppliers are taking the opportunity with the commodity-price increases in the last few months to propose price increases that are above and beyond normal expectations, causing significant concern. Business growth remains optimistic on the emergence of a post-coronavirus [COVID-19] era in [the] second half of 2021. U.S. port delays are problematic.” (Accommodation & Food Services)
  • “The declining COVID-19 cases in the four states we operate in, combined with the increased vaccination rates, should bode well for our increased business activity moving into the second quarter of 2021.” (Arts, Entertainment & Recreation)
  • “Sales of residential real estate continue to be strong, even outstripping supply. Cost inflation in building materials seen as shortages develop from sporadic COVID-19 closures at manufacturing facilities. Port congestion on the West Coast [and] winter weather in Canada closing mills and restricting truck shipping are contributing to product shortages nationwide.” (Construction)
  • “COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect the number of students either applying to college, living on campus or finding alternative means of a valuable education. As such, revenues have decreased while expenses increased.” (Educational Services)
  • “Business is steady during Q1 2021.” (Finance & Insurance)
  • “Exponential demand for critical supplies due to [the] pandemic is driving distributer allocations and forcing alternative sourcing.” (Health Care & Social Assistance)
  • “Our company has an overall positive outlook, with new COVID-19 cases trending down nationally and vaccine distribution coming online. However, possible changes to the regulatory environment for oil and gas is a looming negative influence.” (Management of Companies & Support Services)
  • “The business continues to reduce real-estate/brick-and-mortar [operations] and transition to a work-from-home model. Innovation is the watchword in all things; as such, the need to right-size all consumption as patterns have changed.” (Information)
  • “Supplier deliveries continue to be an issue as well as lead-times. Additionally, price increases are occurring with more frequency for products containing raw materials such as copper and steel.” (Retail Trade)
  • “Construction and customer activity remains robust. Many materials have inconsistent lead times or are facing delivery delays.” (Utilities)
  • “We are seeing an ongoing influx of price increases due to raw-material shortages, labor shortages, and transportation delays.” (Wholesale Trade)
  • “We were excited [in January], when orders and activity were increasing. Now, they are not receding, but they’re flat month over month. That’s not the rebound we were hoping for.” (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)

ISM® SERVICES SURVEY RESULTS AT A GLANCE COMPARISON OF ISM® SERVICES AND ISM® MANUFACTURING SURVEYS*
February 2021

  Services PMI® Manufacturing PMI®
Index Series Index Feb Series Index Jan Percent Point Change Direction Rate of Change Trend** (Months) Series Index Feb Series Index Jan Percent Point Change
Services PMI® 55.3 58.7 -3.4 Growing Slower 9 60.8 58.7 +2.1
Business Activity/ Production 55.5 59.9 -4.4 Growing Slower 9 63.2 60.7 +2.5
New Orders 51.9 61.8 -9.9 Growing Slower 9 64.8 61.1 +3.7
Employment 52.7 55.2 -2.5 Growing Slower 2 54.4 52.6 +1.8
Supplier Deliveries 60.8 57.8 +3.0 Slowing Faster 21 72.0 68.2 +3.8
Inventories 58.9 49.2 +9.7 Growing From Contracting 1 49.7 50.8 -1.1
Prices 71.8 64.2 +7.6 Increasing Faster 45 86.0 82.1 +3.9
Backlog of Orders 55.2 50.9 +4.3 Growing Faster 2 64.0 59.7 +4.3
New Export Orders 57.6 47.0 +10.6 Growing From Contracting 1 57.2 54.9 +2.3
Imports 50.5 53.5 -3.0 Growing Slower 5 56.1 56.8 -0.7
Inventory Sentiment 54.3 49.7 +4.6 Too High From Too Low 1 N/A N/A N/A
Customers' Inventories N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 32.5 33.1 -0.6
Overall Economy Growing Slower 9
Services Sector Growing Slower 9

Services ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for the Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment indexes. Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for New Orders, Production, Employment and Inventories indexes.
**Number of months moving in current direction.

COMMODITIES REPORTED UP/DOWN IN PRICE AND IN SHORT SUPPLY


Commodities Up in Price


Aluminum (2); Cheese Products; Corn; Copper (2); Copper Products; Diesel (3); Electronic Components; Electrical Components; Energy; Exam Gloves (5); Freight (3); Fuel (2); Gasoline (3); Labor (3); Labor — Temporary (2); Lumber (2); Natural Gas; Nitrile Gloves (6); Oil Products; Oriented Strand Board (OSB) (3); Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)* (13); PPE — Gloves (5); Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Products (6); Pharmaceuticals (2); Protein; Resin Products (2); Steel (6); Steel Products (2); and Wood Products.


Commodities Down in Price


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)*.


Commodities in Short Supply


Ammunition; Appliances (2); Construction Contractors (5); COVID-19 Vaccine; Electrical Components (3); Exam Gloves; Gloves (3); Insulation; Labor (3); Labor — Construction (2); Labor — Temporary (2); N95 Masks (12); Needles & Syringes (3); Nitrile Gloves (9); Oriented Strand Board (OSB) (2); Packaging; Paper Products; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (13); PPE — Gloves (11); PPE — Gowns; Plastic Bags; Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Products; Refrigerators; Shipping Containers; and Steel Products (3).

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.
*Indicates both up and down and price.

 


FEBRUARY 2021 SERVICES INDEX SUMMARIES

Services PMI®


In February, the Services PMI® registered 55.3 percent, 3.4 percentage points lower than January figure of 58.7 percent. This reading indicates the services sector grew for the ninth consecutive month after two months of contraction and 123 months of growth before that. A reading above 50 percent indicates the services sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the services sector is generally contracting.

A Services PMI® above 49.2 percent, over time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the February Services PMI® indicates expansion for a ninth straight month following two months of contraction and a preceding period of 128 months of growth. Nieves says, “The past relationship between the Services PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the Services PMI® for February (55.3 percent) corresponds to a 2.2 -percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.”

SERVICES PMI® HISTORY

Month Services PMI®
Feb 2021 55.3
Jan 2021 58.7
Dec 2020 57.7
Nov 2020 56.8
Oct 2020 56.2
Sep 2020 57.2
Month SERVICES PMI®
Aug 2020 57.2
Jul 2020 56.6
Jun 2020 56.5
May 2020 45.4
Apr 2020 41.6
Mar 2020 53.6
54.4
58.7
41.6

Business Activity

ISM®'s Business Activity Index registered 55.5 percent in February, a decrease of 4.4 percentage points from the January reading of 59.9 percent. This represents growth for the ninth consecutive month. Comments from respondents include: “State restrictions on dining capacity have relaxed slightly” and “Elective surgeries on the rise.”

The 14 industries reporting an increase in business activity for the month of February — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Wholesale Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Public Administration; Utilities; Educational Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Construction; Mining; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Information; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The three industries reporting a decrease are: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; and Other Services. Retail Trade is the only industry reporting no change in February compared to January.

Business Activity % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 26.2 59.3 14.6 55.5
Jan 2021 29.7 51.4 18.8 59.9
Dec 2020 31.4 50.4 18.2 60.5
Nov 2020 27.5 57.0 15.4 59.6

New Orders

ISM®'s New Orders Index registered 51.9 percent, a decrease of 9.9 percentage points from the January reading of 61.8 percent. New orders grew for the ninth consecutive month after two months of contraction and a preceding period of 128 months of expansion. Comments from respondents include: “An increase in inventories needed to meet new demands” and “Increased demand due to building stock to cover through the Lunar New Year.”

The 11 industries reporting growth of new orders in February — listed in order — are: Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Construction; Public Administration; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Utilities; Educational Services; Finance & Insurance; and Health Care & Social Assistance. The two industries reporting a decrease in February are: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; and Other Services.

New Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 27.0 54.9 18.1 51.9
Jan 2021 30.5 51.6 17.9 61.8
Dec 2020 30.3 49.9 19.7 58.6
Nov 2020 29.6 55.2 15.1 59.0

Employment

Employment activity in the services sector grew in February for the second consecutive month after contracting in January. After 72 straight pre-pandemic months of expansion, the index contracted from March through September. ISM®'s Services Employment Index registered 52.7 percent in February, down 2.5 percentage points from the January reading of 55.2 percent. Comments from respondents include: “Unable to fill vacant positions with qualified applicants” and “Need more resources to meet demand.”

The 11 industries reporting an increase in employment in February — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Health Care & Social Assistance; Management of Companies & Support Services; Accommodation & Food Services; Construction; Other Services; Retail Trade; Utilities; Public Administration; Information; and Finance & Insurance. The six industries that reported a reduction in employment in February — listed in order — are: Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Transportation & Warehousing; Educational Services; Wholesale Trade; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.

Employment % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 16.4 69.2 14.3 52.7
Jan 2021 16.2 73.0 10.8 55.2
Dec 2020 14.6 66.8 18.6 48.7
Nov 2020 16.0 69.6 14.5 51.5

Supplier Deliveries

The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 60.8 percent, which is 3 percentage points higher than the 57.8 percent reported in January. A reading above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, while a reading below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries. Comments from respondents include: “Import logistics delays,” and “Trucking shortage is delaying orders two to five days.”

The 15 industries reporting slower deliveries in February — listed in order — are: Transportation & Warehousing; Construction; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Retail Trade; Wholesale Trade; Other Services; Mining; Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; Accommodation & Food Services; Public Administration; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Information; and Finance & Insurance. The two industries reporting faster deliveries in February are: Management of Companies & Support Services; and Educational Services.

Supplier Deliveries % Slower % Same % Faster Index
Feb 2021 25.7 70.2 4.0 60.8
Jan 2021 18.4 78.8 2.8 57.8
Dec 2020 27.6 70.4 2.0 62.8
Nov 2020 16.9 80.3 2.8 57.1

Inventories

The Inventories Index grew in February after a month of contraction. The reading of 58.9 percent was a 9.7-percentage point increase from the 49.2 percent reported in January. Of the total respondents in February, 46 percent indicated they do not have inventories or do not measure them. Comments from respondents include: “Increasing on-hand inventories to meet new business demands” and “Increasing stock of appliances since they are in short supply to meet our needs.”

The seven industries reporting an increase in inventories in February — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Educational Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Mining; Public Administration; and Wholesale Trade. The four industries reporting a decrease in inventories in February are: Retail Trade; Construction; Utilities; and Health Care & Social Assistance. Seven industries reported no change in inventories in February.

Inventories % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 31.0 55.9 13.1 58.9
Jan 2021 17.0 64.6 18.5 49.2
Dec 2020 28.6 59.2 12.2 58.2
Nov 2020 19.6 59.4 21.0 49.3

Prices

Prices paid by service organizations for materials and services increased in February, with the index registering 71.8 percent. This is 7.6 percentage points higher than the 64.2 percent reported in January.

The 16 services industries that reported an increase in prices paid during the month of February — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; Retail Trade; Public Administration; Health Care & Social Assistance; Finance & Insurance; Utilities; Other Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Educational Services; and Management of Companies & Support Services. The only industry reporting a decrease in prices paid for February is Information.

Prices % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 43.0 54.2 2.7 71.8
Jan 2021 32.0 63.3 4.8 64.2
Dec 2020 26.5 68.4 5.1 64.4
Nov 2020 32.0 62.2 5.8 63.9
NOTE: Commodities reported as up in price and down in price are listed in the commodities section of this report.

Backlog of Orders

The ISM® Services Backlog of Orders Index grew in February for the eighth time in the last nine months. The index registered 55.2 percent; 4.3 percentage points higher than the 50.9 percent reported in January. Of the total respondents in February, 54 percent indicated they do not measure backlog of orders.

The eight industries reporting an increase in order backlogs in February — listed in order — are: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Transportation & Warehousing; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Educational Services; Finance & Insurance; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The six industries that reported a decrease in backlogs in February are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; Public Administration; Information; and Mining.

Backlog of Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 25.2 60.1 14.7 55.2
Jan 2021 13.9 74.0 12.1 50.9
Dec 2020 15.2 67.0 17.8 48.7
Nov 2020 19.0 63.3 17.6 50.7

New Export Orders

Orders and requests for services and other non-manufacturing activities to be provided outside of the U.S. by domestically based companies grew in February after contracting in January. The New Export Orders Index registered 57.6 percent in February, which is 10.6 percentage points higher than the 47 percent reported in January. Of the total respondents in February, 76 percent indicated they either do not perform, or do not separately measure, orders for work outside of the U.S.

The seven industries reporting an increase in new export orders in February — listed in order — are: Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Educational Services; Finance & Insurance; Health Care & Social Assistance; Wholesale Trade; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The three industries that reported a decrease in exports in February are: Other Services; Construction; and Retail Trade. Eight industries reported no change in February.

New Export Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 21.9 71.4 6.8 57.6
Jan 2021 13.2 67.7 19.2 47.0
Dec 2020 20.2 74.2 5.6 57.3
Nov 2020 15.0 70.8 14.2 50.4

Imports

The Imports Index grew at a slower rate in February, as it registered 50.5 percent, 3 percentage points lower than January’s figure of 53.5 percent. Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported that they do not use, or do not track the use of, imported materials.

The seven industries reporting an increase in imports for the month of February — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Transportation & Warehousing; Wholesale Trade; Health Care & Social Assistance; Information; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. The four industries reporting a decrease in imports in February are: Retail Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; and Educational Services. Seven industries reported no change.

Imports % Higher % Same % Lower Index
Feb 2021 16.8 67.4 15.8 50.5
Jan 2021 14.9 77.0 8.0 53.5
Dec 2020 8.8 86.0 5.2 51.8
Nov 2020 17.3 75.3 7.4 55.0

Inventory Sentiment

The ISM® Services Inventory Sentiment Index in February registered 54.3 percent, which is 4.6 percentage points higher than the 49.7 percent reading in January. This indicates inventories are too high after three months of index contraction.

The eight industries reporting sentiment that their inventories were too high in February — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; Information; and Public Administration. The three industries reporting a feeling that their inventories were too low in February are: Retail Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; and Wholesale Trade. Seven industries reported no change in inventory sentiment.

Inventory Sentiment % Too High % About Right % Too Low Index
Feb 2021 19.4 69.7 10.9 54.3
Jan 2021 13.0 73.4 13.6 49.7
Dec 2020 10.2 75.1 14.8 47.7
Nov 2020 12.3 75.3 12.4 49.9

About This Report

DO NOT CONFUSE THIS NATIONAL REPORT with the various regional purchasing reports released across the country. The national report's information reflects the entire U.S., while the regional reports contain primarily regional data from their local vicinities. Also, the information in the regional reports is not used in calculating the results of the national report. The information compiled in this report is for the month of February 2021.

The data presented herein is obtained from a survey of supply executives in the services sector based on information they have collected within their respective organizations. ISM® makes no representation, other than that stated within this release, regarding the individual company data collection procedures. The data should be compared to all other economic data sources when used in decision-making.

Data and Method of Presentation

The Services ISM® Report On Business® (formerly the Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®) is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide. Membership of the Services Business Survey Committee is diversified by NAICS, based on each industry's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). The Services Business Survey Committee responses are divided into the following NAICS code categories: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; Finance & Insurance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Accommodation & Food Services; Public Administration; and Other Services (services such as Equipment & Machinery Repairing; Promoting or Administering Religious Activities; Grantmaking; Advocacy; and Providing Dry-Cleaning & Laundry Services, Personal Care Services, Death Care Services, Pet Care Services, Photofinishing Services, Temporary Parking Services, and Dating Services).

Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month. For each of the indicators measured (Business Activity, New Orders, Backlog of Orders, New Export Orders, Inventory Change, Inventory Sentiment, Imports, Prices, Employment and Supplier Deliveries), this report shows the percentage reporting each response and the diffusion index. Responses represent raw data and are never changed. Data is seasonally adjusted for Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment. All seasonal adjustment factors are subject annually to relatively minor changes when conditions warrant them. The remaining indexes have not indicated significant seasonality.

The Services PMI® is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes for four of the indicators with equal weights: Business Activity (seasonally adjusted), New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted) and Supplier Deliveries. Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change and the scope of change. An index reading above 50 percent indicates that the services economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally declining. Supplier Deliveries is an exception. A Supplier Deliveries Index above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries and below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries.

A Services PMI® above 49.2 percent, over time, indicates that the overall economy, or gross domestic product (GDP), is generally expanding; below 49.2 percent, it is generally declining. The distance from 50 percent or 49.2 percent is indicative of the strength of the expansion or decline.

The Services ISM® Report On Business® survey is sent out to Services Business Survey Committee respondents the first part of each month. Respondents are asked to ONLY report on U.S. operations for the current month. ISM® receives survey responses throughout most of any given month, with the majority of respondents generally waiting until late in the month to submit responses to give the most accurate picture of current business activity. ISM® then compiles the report for release on the third business day of the following month.

The industries reporting growth, as indicated in the Services ISM® Report On Business® monthly report, are listed in the order of most growth to least growth. For the industries reporting contraction or decreases, those are listed in the order of the highest level of contraction/decrease to the least level of contraction/decrease.

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About Institute for Supply Management®

Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) serves supply management professionals in more than 90 countries. Its 50,000 members around the world manage about US$1 trillion in corporate and government supply chain procurement annually. Founded in 1915 as the first supply management institute in the world, ISM is committed to advancing the practice of supply management to drive value and competitive advantage for its members, contributing to a prosperous and sustainable world. ISM leads the profession through the ISM Report On Business®, its highly regarded certification programs and the ISM Mastery Model®. This report has been issued by the association since 1931, except for a four-year interruption during World War II.

The full text version of the Services ISM® Report On Business® is posted on ISM®'s website at www.ismrob.org on the third business day* of every month after 10:00 a.m. ET.

The next Services ISM® Report On Business® featuring March 2021 data will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, April 5, 2021.

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