Growth in U.S. service industries cooled in March for a second month as orders settled back from the fastest pace in more than 12 years, a survey from the Institute for Supply Management showed Wednesday.
Highlights of ISM Non-Manufacturing (March)
Non-manufacturing index fell to 58.8 (est. 59) from February’s 59.5; readings above 50 indicate growth
New orders measure slid to 59.5 from 64.8, which was highest since Aug. 2005
Gauge of business activity dropped to 60.6 from 62.8
Employment index increased to 56.6 from 55
Even with the main index’s decline last month, service industries continued to expand at a hearty pace. An increase in order backlogs and slower delivery times, as measured by the purchasing managers’ group, encouraged the services sector to step up hiring to meet demand.
The results are similar to the group’s data earlier this week that showed factories expanded at a slightly slower pace as orders and production growth cooled. Nonetheless, both reports indicate the economy remains on solid footing, and the services gauge’s three-month average of 59.4 is the best for a quarter in records back to 1997, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Source : Bloomberg