WASHINGTON, D.C.: The US service sector slowed for the second straight month in October, but employment growth accelerated, the Institute for Supply Management said on Wednesday.
The ISM’s purchasing managers index for the non-manufacturing sector fell to 57.1 in October from 58.6 in September, after hitting the highest reading of the year at 59.6 in August.
A number above 50 indicates expansion. Most of the components of the PMI index fell from September levels, led by a 4.0 percentage point decline in growth in new export orders as the global economy slows.
Business activity, new orders, prices and orders backlogs all saw slower growth in October. Inventories swung from growth to contraction. But employment picked up momentum, adding 1.1 percentage point at a 59.6 reading.
Sixteen of the 18 industries surveyed reported growth in October, with the strongest sectors construction, retail trade, and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
The two industries reporting contraction were arts, entertainment and recreation; and finance and insurance.
“The majority of the respondents’ comments reflect favorable business conditions; however, there is an indication that there continues to be a leveling off from the strong rate of growth of the preceding months,” said Anthony Nieves, head of the non-manufacturing business survey committee
The three-month PMI average, at 58.4, was higher than the 12-month average of 55.6.
“All told, the service sector remains on firm footing and the three-month average of the composite index remains near recent highs,” said Andrew Davis of Moody’s Analytics.