The Institute for Supply Management said its Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) registered 55.2% in January, 0.5 percentage point lower than the seasonally adjusted 55.7% registered in December. This indicates continued growth at a slightly slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector.

A reading above 50% indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

In addition, the ISM said economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in January for the 37th consecutive month.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index registered 56.4%, which is 4.4 percentage points lower than the seasonally adjusted 60.8% reported in December, reflecting growth for the 42nd consecutive month. The New Orders Index decreased by 3.9 percentage points to 54.4%, and the Employment Index increased 2.2 percentage points to 57.5%, indicating growth in employment for the sixth consecutive month. The Prices Index increased 1.9 percentage points to 58%, indicating prices increased at a faster rate in January when compared to December.

According to the NMI, eight non-manufacturing industries reported growth in January. Respondents’ comments are mixed about the economy and business conditions; however, the majority of respondents are optimistic about the overall direction.

The eight non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in January listed in order are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Management of Companies & Support Services; Construction; Public Administration; Finance & Insurance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; and Mining.

The nine industries reporting contraction in January listed in order are: Other Services; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Utilities; Educational Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Accommodation & Food Services; Retail Trade; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Wholesale Trade.