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Chalk up another one for the pile of better than expected economic data recently. Today’s ISM Non-Manufacturing report for the month of November came in at a level of 57.2 compared to expectations for 55.5 and represents the highest level since October 2015. On a combined basis and accounting for both the weight of the Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing sectors’ weights in the economy, the ISM for November hit a level of 56.7, which is also the highest level seen since October 2015.
The table below breaks out this month’s ISM report by each of the index’s sub-categories. Overall, breadth was split right down the middle relative to October and one year ago as five categories showed improvement and five weakened. Relative to October, the biggest winners this month were Employment and Business Activity. On the downside, Inventory Sentiment and Backlog Orders saw the largest declines. While every sector remains in growth territory (above 50), no category is at or near a cycle high. The closest is Employment, which is just one point off its high of 59.2 back in July 2015.