The Institute for Supply Management says its purchasing manager’s index (PMI) hit 59.6 in January.
Analysts expected a reading of 59.0, down from a revised 60.8.
But the employment subindex slipped below 50, signaling contraction. The reading came in at 49.2 versus 51.6 in December. It’s the lowest reading since last April.
“…While employment fell back into contraction, this doesn’t appear to be indicative of current demand conditions,” ISM economist Philip Uglow said, adding: “Business activity continued to ease in January but remained at a relatively high level. Production and New Orders remained firm.”
Here’s the chart: