The phrase that comes to mind is mixed bag. Today the ISM Services index for August came in at 48.4%. Anything below 50 is a contraction, i.e. still a recession. It's 2% higher than last month. There is also a little indicator of inflation, the prices index is up to 63.1%.
"The NMI (Non-Manufacturing Index) registered 48.4 percent in August, 2 percentage points higher than the 46.4 percent registered in July, indicating contraction in the non-manufacturing sector for the 11th consecutive month but at a slower rate. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased 5.2 percentage points to 51.3 percent. This is the first time this index has reflected growth since September 2008. The New Orders Index increased 1.8 percentage points to 49.9 percent, and the Employment Index increased 2 percentage points to 43.5 percent. The Prices Index increased 21.8 percentage points to 63.1 percent in August, indicating a substantial increase in prices paid from July. According to the NMI, six non-manufacturing industries reported growth in August. Respondents' comments are mixed about business conditions and the overall economy; however, there is an increase in comments indicating that there are signs of improvement going forward."
|ISM NON-MANUFACTURING SURVEY RESULTS AT A GLANCE
|Bus. Activity||51.3||46.1||+5.2||Growing||From Contracting||1|
|Supplier Deliveries||49.0||50.0||-1.0||Faster||From Unchanged||1|
|New Export Orders||54.0||47.5||+6.5||Growing||From Contracting||1|
|Inventory Sentiment||67.5||62.5||+5.0||Too High||Faster||147|