Indicators show economy may be slowing
The non-manufacturing sector continued to grow in April, but at a slower rate than in March, with a widely followed index dropping 2.5 points to 53.5, according to numbers released today by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).
Any number above 50 indicates growth.
Respondents to the ISM Report on Business survey said they feared the economy is starting to cool, consumer confidence is slipping and that rising gasoline prices are taking their toll on shipping and transportation.
“The economy has recently lost some momentum, and a weaker services sector is completely consistent with that,” said James Shugg, senior economist at WesPac Banking Corp., told Bloomberg. “Consumer spending is softening somewhat.”
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 37.6 for last week, Bloomberg reported today, losing momentum from a four-year high posted the previous week.
Though retail sales rose by 4.3 percent in March – thanks to Easter – sales rose only 0.8 percent in April, according to Reuters, falling short of the 1.5 percent increase predicted by analysts.