NMI® at 45.4%


May 2020 Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®

Business Activity Index at 41%
New Orders Index at 41.9%
Employment Index at 31.8%
Supplier Deliveries Index at 67%

(Tempe, Arizona) — Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector contracted in May for the second consecutive month, say the nation's purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®

The report was issued today by Anthony Nieves, CPSM, C.P.M., A.P.P., CFPM, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee: “The NMI® registered 45.4 percent, 3.6 percentage points higher than the April reading of 41.8 percent. This reading represents contraction in the non-manufacturing sector for the second consecutive month, following a 122-month period of expansion. The Business Activity Index increased 15 percentage points from April’s figure, registering 41 percent. The New Orders Index registered 41.9 percent; 9 percentage points higher than the reading of 32.9 percent in April. The Employment Index increased to 31.8 percent; 1.8 percentage points higher than the April reading of 30 percent.

“The Supplier Deliveries Index registered at 67 percent, down 11.3 percentage points from April’s all-time-high reading of 78.3 percent, which elevated the composite NMI®. The Supplier Deliveries Index is one of four equally weighted subindexes that directly factor into the NMI®, along with Business Activity, New Orders and Employment. Supplier Deliveries is the only ISM® Report On Business® index that is inversed; a reading of above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, which is typical as the economy improves and customer demand increases. The higher readings for supplier deliveries the past three months are primarily a product of supply problems related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Prices Index figure of 55.6 percent is 0.5 percentage point higher than the April reading of 55.1 percent, indicating that prices increased in May. According to the NMI®, four non-manufacturing industries reported growth. The non-manufacturing composite index indicated contraction for a second consecutive time. The sector’s previous period of contraction was for two months in 2009: November (with an NMI® of 49.5 percent) and December (49.7 percent). Respondents remain concerned about the ongoing impact of the coronavirus. Additionally, many of the respondents’ respective companies are hoping and/or planning for a resumption of business,” says Nieves.

INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE

The four non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in May are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Finance & Insurance; Public Administration; and Information. The 14 industries reporting a decrease in May — listed in order — are: Mining; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Other Services; Construction; Educational Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Utilities; Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Transportation & Warehousing; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Retail Trade.

WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING

  • “Current operations have been reduced to accommodate a slowed economy, but the business is taking time to review operation and implement more efficient processes. Purchasing has slowed for client facing goods/services but has increased for internal operating supplies/services.” (Accommodation & Food Services)
  • “Demand seems to have bottomed out, and we are seeing signs of increasing interest. Inventories of finished goods are extensive, so production will slowly rebound in the coming months.” (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting)
  • “Sales have slowed, but backlog has remained [at] 2019 levels. Several key commodities have seen radical up-and-down swings in pricing, specifically lumber. Some suppliers recognize the downturn and are beginning to voluntarily offer pricing concessions.” (Construction)
  • “Students participating in online education classes have greatly reduced the need on campus. Coupled with the natural slow down we normally experience in the spring and summer terms with reduced student enrollment, and our workload has diminished substantially.” (Educational Services)
  • “Extremely busy with Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program work.” (Finance & Insurance)
  • “Low volumes due to COVID-19. No elective surgeries.” (Health Care & Social Assistance)
  • “Company is preparing to reopen offices worldwide, as communities relax work-from-home lockdowns. No employees have been furloughed or RIF’d and CEO says company should be able to maintain full employment at least through 3rd quarter if health situation remains as is. By Q4, a re-evaluation of staffing levels would need to be done if no improvement to the economic situation.” (Information)
  • “COVID-19 is still impacting our revenue significantly and the prices we are paying for goods and services.” (Public Administration)
  • <li">“COVID-19 has had the largest impact on our company; however, we successfully kept 90 percent of our retail locations open to the public while implementing intense cleaning procedures and safety protocols. Our entire 300+ headquarters has been set up to work remotely to support our retail locations.” (Retail Trade)
  • “Business is slightly picking up but is still drastically down due to COVID-19 and hospitality businesses being closed or limited in service.” (Wholesale Trade)

ISM® NON-MANUFACTURING SURVEY RESULTS AT A GLANCE COMPARISON OF ISM® NON-MANUFACTURING AND ISM® MANUFACTURING SURVEYS*
May 2020

  Non-Manufacturing Manufacturing
Index Series Index May Series Index Apr Percent Point Change Direction Rate of Change Trend** (Months) Series Index May Series Index Apr Percent Point Change
NMI®/ PMI® 45.4 41.8 +3.6 Contracting Slower 2 43.1 41.5 +1.6
Business Activity/ Production 41.0 26.0 +15.0 Contracting Slower 3 33.2 27.5 +5.7
New Orders 41.9 32.9 +9.0 Contracting Slower 2 31.8 27.1 +4.7
Employment 31.8 30.0 +1.8 Contracting Slower 3 32.1 27.5 +4.6
Supplier Deliveries 67.0 78.3 -11.3 Slowing Slower 12 68.0 76.0 -8.0
Inventories 48.0 46.9 +1.1 Contracting Slower 3 50.4 49.7 +0.7
Prices 55.6 55.1 +0.5 Increasing Faster 2 40.8 35.3 +5.5
Backlog of Orders 46.4 47.7 -1.3 Contracting Faster 2 38.2 37.8 +0.4
New Export Orders 41.5 36.3 +5.2 Contracting Slower 3 39.5 35.3 +4.2
Imports 43.7 49.3 -5.6 Contracting Faster 3 41.3 42.7 -1.4
Inventory Sentiment 55.1 62.6 -7.5 Too High Slower 2 N/A N/A N/A
Customers' Inventories N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 46.2 48.8 -2.6
Overall Economy Contracting Slower 2
Non-Manufacturing Sector Contracting Slower 2

Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for the Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment indexes. Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for New Orders, Production, Employment and Inventories indexes.
**Number of months moving in current direction.

Commodities reported up/down in price and in short supply


Commodities Up in Price


Air Freight (2); Beef; Beef — Ground; Cleaning Products (3); Disinfectants (2); Hand Sanitizer (3); Janitorial Supplies (2); Lumber Products; Medical Supplies (4); N95 Masks; Oriented Strand Board (OSB); Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (4); PPE — Coveralls; PPE — Gloves (3); PPE — Gowns (3); PPE — Masks (3); and Sanitary Supplies.


Commodities Down in Price


Cheese (2); Dairy Products; Diesel Fuel (5); Fuel (3); Gasoline (4); Gasoline-Related Products; Natural Gas; Plastic Packaging; PVC Products; Steel; and Steel Products (3).


Commodities in Short Supply


Alcohol (2); Cleaning Products (3); Cleaning Supplies (3); Disinfectants (3); Disinfectant Wipes; Hand Sanitizer (3); Janitorial Supplies (2); Medical Equipment; Medical Supplies (4); Nasal Swabs (2); N95 Masks (3); Paper Products (3); Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (4); PPE — Coveralls (3); PPE — Gloves (2); PPE — Gowns (2); PPE — Masks (3); Surgical Masks (4); Safety Equipment (2); Sanitary Supplies (2); and Swabs.

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.

 


May 2020 Non-Manufacturing Index Summaries


NMI®

In May, the NMI® registered 45.4 percent, 3.6 percentage points higher than April’s figure of 41.8 percent. The reading indicates non-manufacturing sector contraction for the second consecutive month after 122 previous months of growth. A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

An NMI® above 48.5 percent, over time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the May NMI® indicates contraction for the second straight month following 128 consecutive months of expansion. Nieves says, “The past relationship between the NMI® and the overall economy indicates that the NMI® for May (45.4 percent) corresponds to a 1.1-percent decrease in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.”

NMI® HISTORY

Month NMI®
May 2020 45.4
Apr 2020 41.8
Mar 2020 52.5
Feb 2020 57.3
Jan 2020 55.5
Dec 2019 54.9
Month NMI®
Nov 2019 53.9
Oct 2019 54.4
Sep 2019 53.5
Aug 2019 56.0
Jul 2019 54.8
Jun 2019 55.4
53.0
57.3
41.8

Business Activity

ISM®’s Business Activity Index registered 41 percent in May, an increase of 15 percentage points from the April reading of 26 percent. This represents contraction for the third consecutive month. Comments from respondents include: “Higher sales for delivery and takeout” and “Many of our customers in the hospitality and institutional sectors are shut down or have reduced demand due to COVID-19.”

The three industries reporting an increase in business activity for the month of May are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Finance & Insurance; and Retail Trade. The 13 industries reporting a decrease in business activity for the month of May — listed in order — are: Mining; Educational Services; Construction; Other Services; Utilities; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Accommodation & Food Services; Wholesale Trade; Management of Companies & Support Services; Transportation & Warehousing; and Information.

Business Activity % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 29.3 27.7 43.0 41.0
Apr 2020 20.9 15.1 64.0 26.0
Mar 2020 26.3 43.1 30.6 48.0
Feb 2020 34.0 56.7 9.2 57.8

New Orders

ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing New Orders Index registered 41.9 percent, an increase of 9 percentage points from the April reading of 32.9 percent. New orders contracted for the second straight month after 128 consecutive months of expansion. Comments from respondents include: “COVID-19 has slowed a lot of projects and even caused some to cancel” and “Businesses are strategizing on how to reopen.”

The only industry reporting growth of new orders in May is Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting. The 14 industries reporting contraction in May — listed in order — are: Mining; Other Services; Educational Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Utilities; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Construction; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; Accommodation & Food Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; and Public Administration.

New Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 28.1 29.3 42.7 41.9
Apr 2020 26.7 17.4 55.9 32.9
Mar 2020 30.4 45.6 23.9 52.9
Feb 2020 39.6 52.3 8.0 63.1

Employment

Employment activity in the non-manufacturing sector contracted in May for the third month in a row following 72 consecutive months of growth. ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing Employment Index registered 31.8 percent, up 1.8 percentage points from the April reading of 30 percent. No industry reported an increase in employment, and 17 industries reported decreased employment. Comments from respondents include: “Furloughed as much staff as possible to reduce costs due to COVID-19” and “Terminations, furloughs, hourly reductions [and] forced vacations.”

The 17 industries that reported a reduction in employment in May — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Construction; Other Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Health Care & Social Assistance; Wholesale Trade; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Educational Services; Mining; Accommodation & Food Services; Utilities; Information; Public Administration; Retail Trade; and Finance & Insurance. No industry reported an increase in employment in May.

Employment % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 6.9 52.1 41.1 31.8
Apr 2020 5.8 47.6 46.6 30.0
Mar 2020 8.9 76.3 14.7 47.0
Feb 2020 20.2 67.5 12.3 55.6

Supplier Deliveries

The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 67 percent, which is 11.3 percentage points lower than the 78.3 percent reported in April. A reading above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries, while a reading below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries. Comments from respondents include: “Production shutdowns have greatly increased lead times” and “Suppliers are on allocation from their manufacturing partners, and if the product is coming out of China, the delays are even longer.”

The 17 industries reporting slower deliveries in May — listed in order — are: Management of Companies & Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Other Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Public Administration; Utilities; Wholesale Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; Accommodation & Food Services; Mining; Finance & Insurance; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Construction; and Retail Trade.

Supplier Deliveries % Slower % Same % Faster Index
May 2020 40.6 52.7 6.7 67.0
Apr 2020 58.3 39.9 1.8 78.3
Mar 2020 31.3 61.6 7.1 62.1
Feb 2020 10.4 84.0 5.6 52.4

Inventories

The Inventories Index contracted in May, registering 48 percent, a 1.1-percentage point increase from the 46.9 percent reported in April. Of the total respondents in May, 34 percent indicated they do not have inventories or do not measure them. Comments from respondents include: “Inventory has been kept to a minimum due to start-date delays for new projects” and “Purposeful reduction in an anticipation of a slowing business environment.”

The six industries reporting an increase in inventories in May — listed in order — are: Health Care & Social Assistance; Educational Services; Public Administration; Utilities; Management of Companies & Support Services; and Information. The seven industries reporting a decrease in inventories in May — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Construction; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Wholesale Trade; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.

Inventories % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 28.9 38.2 32.9 48.0
Apr 2020 29.1 35.6 35.3 46.9
Mar 2020 20.2 42.8 37.1 41.5
Feb 2020 21.6 64.6 13.8 53.9

Prices

Prices paid by non-manufacturing organizations for materials and services increased in May, with the index registering 55.6 percent. This is 0.5 percentage point higher than the 55.1 percent reported in April.

The 12 non-manufacturing industries that reported an increase in prices paid during the month of May — listed in order — are: Health Care & Social Assistance; Educational Services; Public Administration; Utilities; Transportation & Warehousing; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; Finance & Insurance; and Construction. The three industries that reported a decrease in prices in May are: Mining; Accommodation & Food Services; and Retail Trade.

Prices % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 29.6 57.3 13.1 55.6
Apr 2020 31.3 52.3 16.3 55.1
Mar 2020 18.0 67.9 14.1 50.0
Feb 2020 11.1 80.4 8.5 50.8
NOTE: Commodities reported as up in price and down in price are listed in the commodities section of this report.

Backlog of Orders

ISM®’s Non-Manufacturing Backlog of Orders Index contracted in May for the second consecutive month. The index registered 46.4 percent; 1.3 percentage points lower than the 47.7 percent reported in April. Of the total respondents in May, 39.1 percent indicated they do not measure backlog of orders.

The five industries reporting an increase in order backlogs in May are: Accommodation & Food Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; and Information. The 12 industries that reported a decrease in backlogs in May — listed in order — are: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Other Services; Mining; Construction; Utilities; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Management of Companies & Support Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Educational Services; Wholesale Trade; and Public Administration.

Backlog of Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 24.6 43.7 31.7 46.4
Apr 2020 30.1 35.1 34.7 47.7
Mar 2020 22.5 65.1 12.4 55.0
Feb 2020 21.0 64.3 14.7 53.2

New Export Orders

Orders and requests for services and other non-manufacturing activities to be provided outside of the U.S. by domestically based companies contracted in May for the third consecutive month. The New Export Orders Index registered 41.5 percent in May, which is 5.2 percentage points higher than the 36.3 percent reported in April. Of the total respondents in May, 72 percent indicated they either do not perform, or do not separately measure, orders for work outside of the U.S.

The five industries reporting an increase in new export orders in May are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; and Information. The 11 industries that reported a decrease in exports in May — listed in order — are: Accommodation & Food Services; Utilities; Mining; Transportation & Warehousing; Public Administration; Construction; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Educational Services; and Wholesale Trade.

New Export Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 13.5 56.0 30.6 41.5
Apr 2020 18.1 36.4 45.5 36.3
Mar 2020 7.8 76.3 15.9 45.9
Feb 2020 21.1 69.0 9.9 55.6

Imports

The Imports Index contracted for the seventh time in nine months, as the index registered 43.7 percent in May, 5.6 percentage points lower than April’s figure of 49.3 percent. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported that they do not use, or do not track the use of, imported materials.

The five industries reporting an increase in imports for the month of May are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Health Care & Social Assistance; Retail Trade; Information; and Utilities. The 10 industries that reported a decrease in imports in May — listed in order — are: Public Administration; Accommodation & Food Services; Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Other Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Construction; Wholesale Trade; and Educational Services.

Imports % Higher % Same % Lower Index
May 2020 16.5 54.3 29.2 43.7
Apr 2020 26.4 45.8 27.8 49.3
Mar 2020 5.2 69.9 24.9 40.2
Feb 2020 13.0 79.0 7.9 52.6

Inventory Sentiment

The ISM® Non-Manufacturing Inventory Sentiment Index in May registered 55.1 percent, which is 7.5 percentage points lower than the 62.6-percent reading in April. This indicates that respondents believe their inventories are too high.

The 10 industries reporting sentiment that their inventories were too high in May — listed in order — are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Mining; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Wholesale Trade; Information; Finance & Insurance; Construction; Management of Companies & Support Services; Other Services; and Utilities. The five industries reporting a feeling that their inventories were too low in May are: Educational Services; Accommodation & Food Services; Transportation & Warehousing; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services.

Inventory Sentiment % Too High % About Right % Too Low Index
May 2020 24.0 62.2 13.8 55.1
Apr 2020 39.9 45.3 14.8 62.6
Mar 2020 18.0 59.6 22.4 47.8
Feb 2020 23.2 72.1 4.7 59.3

About This Report

DO NOT CONFUSE THIS NATIONAL REPORT with the various regional purchasing reports released across the country. The national report's information reflects the entire U.S., while the regional reports contain primarily regional data from their local vicinities. Also, the information in the regional reports is not used in calculating the results of the national report. The information compiled in this report is for the month of May 2020.

The data presented herein is obtained from a survey of non-manufacturing supply executives based on information they have collected within their respective organizations. ISM® makes no representation, other than that stated within this release, regarding the individual company data collection procedures. The data should be compared to all other economic data sources when used in decision-making.

Data and Method of Presentation

The Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide. Membership of the Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee is diversified by NAICS, based on each industry's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). The Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee responses are divided into the following NAICS code categories: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Utilities; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; Information; Finance & Insurance; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Management of Companies & Support Services; Educational Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Accommodation & Food Services; Public Administration; and Other Services (services such as Equipment & Machinery Repairing; Promoting or Administering Religious Activities; Grantmaking; Advocacy; and Providing Dry-Cleaning & Laundry Services, Personal Care Services, Death Care Services, Pet Care Services, Photofinishing Services, Temporary Parking Services, and Dating Services).

Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month. For each of the indicators measured (Business Activity, New Orders, Backlog of Orders, New Export Orders, Inventory Change, Inventory Sentiment, Imports, Prices, Employment and Supplier Deliveries), this report shows the percentage reporting each response and the diffusion index. Responses represent raw data and are never changed. Data is seasonally adjusted for Business Activity, New Orders, Prices and Employment. All seasonal adjustment factors are subject annually to relatively minor changes when conditions warrant them. The remaining indexes have not indicated significant seasonality.

The NMI® (Non-Manufacturing Index) is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes for four of the indicators with equal weights: Business Activity (seasonally adjusted), New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted) and Supplier Deliveries. Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change and the scope of change. An index reading above 50 percent indicates that the non-manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally declining. Supplier Deliveries is an exception. A Supplier Deliveries Index above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries and below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries.

An NMI® above 48.5 percent, over time, indicates that the overall economy, or gross domestic product (GDP), is generally expanding; below 48.5 percent, it is generally declining. The distance from 50 percent or 48.5 percent is indicative of the strength of the expansion or decline.

The Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® survey is sent out to Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee respondents the first part of each month. Respondents are asked to ONLY report on information for the current month. ISM® receives survey responses throughout most of any given month, with the majority of respondents generally waiting until late in the month to submit responses in order to give the most accurate picture of current business activity. ISM® then compiles the report for release on the third business day of the following month.

The industries reporting growth, as indicated in the Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® monthly report, are listed in the order of most growth to least growth. For the industries reporting contraction or decreases, those are listed in the order of the highest level of contraction/decrease to the least level of contraction/decrease.

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Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) serves supply management professionals in more than 90 countries. Its 50,000 members around the world manage about US$1 trillion in corporate and government supply chain procurement annually. Founded in 1915 as the first supply management institute in the world, ISM is committed to advancing the practice of supply management to drive value and competitive advantage for its members, contributing to a prosperous and sustainable world. ISM leads the profession through the ISM Report On Business®, its highly regarded certification programs and the ISM Mastery Model®. This report has been issued by the association since 1931, except for a four-year interruption during World War II.

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