UPDATE: Yet another key barometer of the U.S. economy returns to its prerecession peak
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
ISM services index surges to 59.8%, highest level since 2005
The numbers: The Institute for Supply Management's index of service-oriented companies such as banks and retailers jumped to a 12-year high of 59.8% in September (https://www.instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ISMReport/NonMfgROB.cfm?SSO=1) from 55.3%. The last time the index was higher was in August 2005.
Numbers over 50% are viewed as positive for the economy and anything over 55% is considered exceptional.
What happened: The new orders index leaped 5.9 points to 63%, production climbed 3.8 points to 61.3% and employment edged up 0.6 points to 56.8%. Fifteen of the 17 industries tracked by ISM said their businesses were expanding.
"Our business continues to grow at a good pace," said an executive at a health-care provider. And an executive at a financial firm said, "Positive business trends continue in second half. Business results above plan and higher year-to-year."
Hurricanes Irma and Harvey did cause interruptions, several executives said, but business is returning to normal.