October 3, 2019 / 2:26 PM / 12 days ago

U.S. services sector growth weakest in three years: ISM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. services sector growth slowed to its most anemic pace in three years last month, and job growth in the largest slice of the American economy was the weakest in half a decade, a survey of purchasing managers showed on Thursday.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 52.6 from 56.4 the month before. The reading was below expectations of 55.0 from a Reuters poll of 67 economists and was the lowest since August 2016.

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

The business activity index fell to 55.2 from 61.5 the month before. That was below expectations of 59.0.

The employment index fell to 50.4 from 53.1 a month earlier, hitting its lowest level since February 2014. New orders dropped to 53.7 from 60.3. The prices paid index rose to 60.0 from 58.2.

The U.S. economy’s manufacturing sector contracted further in September, according to an earlier ISM report.

Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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