U.S. companies reported a big jump in business activity this month as demand surged, especially in the services industry.
The S&P Global Flash US Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March was 53.3, up from 50.1 in February. The Services Business Activity Index rose to 53.8 from 50.6, while the Manufacturing Output Index rose to 49.3 from 47.3. All exceeded economists' forecasts. Any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in business activity.
"We’ve seen an encouraging resurgence of economic growth so far in March, with the business surveys indicating an acceleration of output to the fastest since May of last year," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.
He added the results paint "a far more positive picture of economic resilience than the declines seen throughout the second half of last year and the start of 2023."
Inflation Still an Issue
Williamson warned, however, that inflation remains a concern. He noted that the purchasing managers surveyed indicated that selling prices were increasing at a quicker rate despite lower costs in the manufacturing sector, and that the services sector is also raising prices, mainly as a result of faster wage growth.