Surveys of business executives point to flagging growth
The numbers: Business conditions at U.S. companies deteriorated again in November and pointed to a slowing economy.
The “flash” U.S. services sector index drop to a three-month low of 46.1 this month from 47.8 in October, keeping it near the lowest level of the pandemic era. The service side of the economy employs most Americans.
The S&P Global U.S. manufacturing sector index, meanwhile, slid to a 2 1/2-year low of 47.6 from 50.4.
Any number below 50 reflects a contracting economy.
Key details: New orders, a sign of future sales, fell in November at the fastest pace since early in the pandemic in 2020, S&P Global found. Exports also declined.
The cost of supplies, a measure of inflation, eased again in a sign that intense inflationary pressures are on the wane. Companies also raised prices at the slowest rate in more than two years.
Shortages of supplies, a big problem during the pandemic, also continued to diminish.
These shortages were one of the biggest contributors to the U.S. and global surge in inflation. While they are fading, they remain a big problem.
Big picture: Businesses are still expanding by some measures, but they are also preparing for slower economic growth.
Rising interest rates orchestrated by the Federal Reserve have dampened sales in the U.S. while a strong dollar has hurt exports by making American products more expensive.
Looking ahead: “Inflationary pressures should continue to cool in the months ahead, potentially markedly, but the economy meanwhile continues to head deeper into a likely recession,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.28% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.59% rose in Wednesday trades.