The numbers: The big services side of the American economy exploded in March as governments lifted trade restrictions and the rise in vaccines gave Americans more confidence to go shopping, travel or take a vacation. A survey of business leaders in service-oriented companies such as banks, retailers and restaurants jumped to 63.7% last month from 55.3% in February, the Institute for Supply Management said on Monday.
That’s the highest level on record since the ISM started the survey in 1997. It doesn’t mean that service-oriented companies are doing better than ever, just that the improvement between February and March was especially strong. In recent trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, + 1.02% and S&P 500 SPX, + 1.17% extended initial gains.