The Biggest Part of the U.S. Economy Slowed in March, ISM Finds

A bellwether of business conditions at U.S. companies fell to a three-month low of 51.2% in March and signaled slackening growth as strains mount on the economy.

The Institute for Supply Management’s services index fell from 55.1% in February.

Numbers above 50% indicate companies are expanding, but the latest survey suggests growth has taken a turn for the worse.

“The likelihood of a mild slowdown in the second half of 2023 or 2024 is still pretty high,” an executive at a professional company told ISM. “Layoffs will continue.”

The closely followed ISM reports are the first major indicators of each month to offer clues on how well the economy is performing. While the large service sector of the economy is still growing, manufacturers have fallen into a slump of sorts.