Demand and output increased during the month of September, leading economists to conclude that the national economy has entered a recovery phase after the doldrums of a pandemic-induced shutdown earlier the spring and summer.
The information provider IHS Markit, which has offices in New York, is reporting that its composite purchasing index was up to 54.4 in September, up from 49.7 in July.
An index reading above 50 points to increased activity, while any reading below that number shows a decline in business activity.
The services sector was up to 54.6 in September, with the manufacturing sector coming in at 53.5.
Such numbers, reports the Wall Street Journal, “suggest the U.S. economy is continuing its slow and steady climb from the deep declines in the spring.”
While strong, the numbers were also marginally off from what was recorded in August, when the composite purchasing index stood at 54.6.
In an interview with the Reuters news service, Chris Williamson, IHS Markit chief business economist, said the question now is “whether the economy’s strong performance can be sustained into the fourth quarter.”
Williamson suggested that trends in the coming weeks may be in a kind of holding pattern as “businesses await clarity with respect to both the path of the pandemic and the election.”
By Garry Boulard
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