The ISM non-manufacturing index climbed to 63.7% in March, firmly beating analysts’ expectations and reaching its highest reading in recent history. The March reading followed February’s significant decline, when the ups and downs of the race between the COVID-19 vaccine and new coronavirus variants wreaked havoc on businesses’ operations. March’s strong increase was across all industries and included increases to new orders as well as to the ISM’s employment sub-indices.
Much of the U.S. loosened restrictions in the month of March, and it didn’t take long to see the impact on the economy. The service sector recovery is one of many signals, such as last week’s jobs report, that the recovery period from the pandemic-induced recession will be much quicker than the slow climb out of the Great Recession.
The continued increase in vaccinated Americans, improving weather and stimulus dollars reaching consumers and the general economy are all creating a confluence of events that will propel significant expansion in the economy, and its largest contributor, the consumer ecosystem, throughout the remainder of 2021.