U.S. Services Index Indicates Slightly Faster Growth In November

Service sector activity in the U.S. grew at a slightly faster rate in the month of November, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Tuesday.

The ISM said its services PMI crept up to 52.7 in November from 51.8 in October, with a reading above 50 indicating growth. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 52.0.

The slightly bigger than expected uptick reflected faster growth in business activity, as the business activity index rose to 55.1 in November from 54.1 in October.

The employment index also edged up to 50.7 in November from 50.2 in October, indicating slightly faster job growth, while the new orders index came in unchanged compared to the previous month at 55.5.

Meanwhile, the report said the prices index slipped to 58.3 in November from 58.6 in October, suggesting a modest slowdown in the pace of price growth.

“The services sector had a slight uptick in growth in November, attributed to the increase in business activity and slight employment growth,” said Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM Services Business Survey Committee.

“There is continuing concern about inflation, interest rates and geopolitical events,” he added. “Rising labor costs and labor constraints remain employment-related challenges.”

The ISM released a separate report last Friday showing a continued contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of November.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI came in at 46.7 in November, unchanged from October, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 47.6.

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