April 5, 2017 / 2:19 PM / 6 months ago

ISM U.S. services activity index falls to lowest since October

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. economy’s service sector expanded in March but at its slowest pace since October, according to an industry report released on Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 55.2 from 57.6 in February which was the highest since October 2015.

The March reading was below expectations of 57.0 from a Reuters poll of 64 economists.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the service sector and a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The business activity index fell to 58.9 from 63.6 the month before. That was below expectations of 61.5.

The employment index fell to 51.6 from 55.2 a month earlier. New orders dropped to 58.9 from 61.2. The prices paid index fell to 53.5 from 57.7.

The U.S. economy’s manufacturing sector expanded in March but at a slower pace than the previous month, according to an earlier ISM report.

Reporting by Richard Leong

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