Markit: Services Sector Employment Stuck at 11-Month Low

Sector shakes of weather effects, but survey sees "warning lights."

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:40PM

The Markit Flash U.S. Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) increased 5.3% from a four-month low to hit 55.5 for March, according to a Markit report (link opens as PDF) released today.

The "flash" estimate is typically based on approximately 85% to 90% of total PMI survey responses each month, and is designed to provide an accurate advance indication of the final PMI data. An above-50 reading denotes general growth, while below 50 signals contraction.

While the overall report is positive, this month's report sends mixed messages about the state of services. Even as top-line numbers improved from February, several problem spots still exist. Growth in new business slowed to 53.9 from February's 56.0 reading, and outstanding business slid 2.6 points into the red, to 48.3 points. Employment, an indicator of longer-term business confidence, stayed stuck at 51.9, an 11-month low.

Despite tough times for some components, business expectations for the next year actually improved at a stronger rate. From February's 73.4 reading, March expectations added on a solid 4.7 points to hit 78.1. 

Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson said in a statement today:

Service sector activity rebounded in March after a weather-torn February, but the survey is clearly flashing some warning lights as to whether the economy has lost some underlying momentum and that growth could slow in the second quarter. The question policymakers need the answer to is whether this weakness still reflects some weather impact. Companies certainly expect conditions to improve: firms' expectations about the year ahead picked up in March and are running above the average seen last year. Until a clearer picture emerges, it seems likely that policy stimulus will continue to be eased back.


Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information