WASHINGTON, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. services sector contracted for the second straight month in May despite the gradual reopening of businesses across the country, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Wednesday.
The non-manufacturing index (NMI), which gauges the performance of the services sector, registered 45.4 percent, 3.6 percentage points higher than the April reading, according to the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.
Amid widespread COVID-19-induced shutdowns, the U.S. services sector contracted for the first time since December 2009 in April.
"Respondents remain concerned about the ongoing impact of the coronavirus," Anthony Nieves, chair of the ISM's non-manufacturing business survey committee, said in the new report.
"Additionally, many of the respondents' respective companies are hoping and/or planning for a resumption of business," Nieves said.
Since late April, many U.S. states have started to reopen their economies, allowing certain nonessential businesses to operate under social distancing guidelines. As of late May, all U.S. states had been in some phase of reopening.
"Business is slightly picking up but is still drastically down due to COVID-19 and hospitality businesses being closed or limited in service," said a business executive from the wholesale trade industry in the ISM report.
According to ISM data released earlier this week, economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted for the third straight month in May, with the Purchasing Managers' Index standing at 43.1 percent. Enditem