U.S. business activity contracted for a third straight month in September, though the pace of decline slowed while improving global supply chains eased inflation pressures for companies.
S&P Global said its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, rose to 49.3 this month from a final reading of 44.6 in August 2022. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the private sector.
Discounting the slump during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, business output in the third quarter was the weakest since the 2007-2009 global financial crisis. Though gross domestic product contracted in the first and second quarters, the income side of the growth ledger showed the economy growing at a moderate pace over that period. The S&P Global survey, however, likely exaggerates the slowdown in economic activity. The Institute for Supply Management surveys have shown manufacturing and services industries growing steadily so far this year, challenging the notion that the economy was in recession