U.S. services sector slows; private payrolls increase

Wed Nov 5, 2014 12:59pm EST
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. services industry activity slowed for a second straight month in October, the latest indication the economy has lost some momentum.

Still, the economy remains on solid footing as other data on Wednesday showed a pick-up in private sector hiring last month.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 57.1 last month from a reading of 58.6 in September, drifting further from August's post-recession high of 59.6.

Nevertheless, the survey showed the key services sector, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the economy, remained solidly in growth mode. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Another survey conducted by information services company Markit also showed services sector growth slowed last month, but stayed in expansion territory.

"The recent moderation in the surveys is broadly consistent with our view that growth cooled off between the third and fourth quarters," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

Separately, the ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls increased by 230,000 in October, for a record seven straight months of job gains exceeding 200,000. Private hiring had risen 225,000 in September.

Job gains last month were broad-based, with mid-sized businesses adding the most workers in more than seven years.

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A job seeker (R) meets with a prospective employer at a career fair in New York City, October 24, 2012.   REUTERS/Mike Segar