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Data: Institute for Supply Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

Purchasing managers indexes have been buoyant in recent months and in August the employment component on the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing survey turned positive after five straight months of readings below 50.

What it means: PMI surveys ask businesses whether conditions are improving or worsening and then produce an index that measures the sentiment of the sector.

  • While overall PMI readings on both manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes had shown V-shaped recoveries in recent months, unemployment has lagged.
  • September's jobs report showed the services sector was the largest industry in terms of gains, led by leisure/hospitality and retail trade, which added 318,000 and 142,400 jobs, respectively.

The overall services index hit 57.8, 0.9 percentage points higher than the August reading of 56.9, but below the July reading of 58.1.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 8, 2021 - World

Food costs are rising all over the world

Data: UN FAO food price index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Year-end data from the U.S. and around the world show a consistent theme — steadily increasing prices.

Driving the news: The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index rose for the seventh straight month in December, rising to its highest in six years.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.