The US services sector’s activity fell at the greatest rate since May of 2020, suggesting that the economy might be in recession already or close to it.
S&P Global Market Intelligence reported that its service activity index increased slightly in July to 47.3 from the preliminary estimate of 47.0 and down from 52.7 in June.
This is the fourth consecutive drop in the seasonally adjusted index, which had previously seen significant rises.
“The US economy deteriorated significantly in July, with both manufacturing and service sector activity dropping. The overall output reduction was the greatest since the global financial crisis, suggesting a good chance that the economy will shrink for a third consecutive quarter,” says S&P economist Chris Williamson.
Reduced output was attributed to worsening economic conditions, sluggish demand, and increased costs.
New orders increased in the third quarter after a modest decline in June. According to S&P Global, the rise in new business was attributed to acquiring new customers. Some firms, on the other hand, continued to emphasize client hesitation amid declining purchasing power.
Increased domestic demand drove the rise in new orders. Export orders decreased for the second month, demonstrating a weakness in our trading partners’ economies and the strength of the U.S. dollar, which makes American services more costly. Foreign tourists are said to be spending significantly less than normal while visiting the United States.
“When financial constraints tighten, the financial services industry typically takes the hit, with a projected increase in interest rates from the FOMC following data collection indicating a greater likelihood of a recession. Higher rates, along with the continuing rise in inflation, have spilled into the consumer sector, causing consumption expenditures to surge during the spring and now decline as household spending is directed to essentials.” Williamson said.
By historical standards, inflation is still high, but it is decreasing from recent highs. Nonetheless, the rate of inflation was greater than any previously observed up to May 2021. Costs for service industries rose but at a slower pace since January.