Severe Snowstorms Hinder Beige Book Results; ISM Services Index Reaches 53%
March 3, 2010 - Reaching its highest point in over two years, the ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 53% during the month of February. Up from January's 50.5%, last month's index was best reading seen since December 2007.
Dating back to August, the index has mostly been fluctuating between 48% and 51%. Readings that are over 50% generally indicate that more firms said that businesses were improving. February's ISM is an important component in determining whether or not the market is recovering efficiently.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report, which gives perspective on the current state of the economy, reported that nine of the twelve regional banks saw a profitable improvement. Overall, U.S. conditions have improved, but were mostly modest.
The Fed stated that "severe snowstorms in early February held back activity in several districts", especially in Richmond were activity lessened quite marginally. Furthermore, they also noted that "overall conditions were described as mixed in Atlanta and St. Louis districts", though St. Louis did see some added signs of improvements in areas.