It is not difficult to understand why so many are optimistic we have turned the corner in our fight against COVID-19. Hopeful signs are everywhere. Earlier this month, the Institute for Supply Management reported the U.S. services sector showed record growth in March, as states ease restrictions.
In fact, the nonmanufacturing index rose to an all-time high 63.7 last month, with new orders also hitting a record.
To throw a little cold water on the celebration, let’s remember the services sector has been growing for 10 months, because it took such a dramatic hit last spring. As far as the ISM is concerned, services, which account for 71 percent of all jobs in the U.S., means everything from banks to bars. The number includes most of the employers that had to grind nearly to a halt about a year ago.
But now, “All the right pieces for a faster services recovery … are falling into place,” economists Oren Klachkin and Gregory Daco of Oxford wrote in a research note.
Fantastic. Now let’s not mess this up. We know there are surges cycling across the country. We know there are new variants prompting more questions about our defeat of this plague. If such a recovery is to continue, we have to participate in the revival of the services sector safely. We have to spend our money and support local employers while continuing to observe precautionary guidelines. Imagine the disappointment if our own actions caused the ISM numbers to reverse course.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox