Service-Sector Activity Flat In October -- IHS Markit

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Service business activity stayed flat in October as employment rose and new business didn't grow as strongly as in recent months.

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IHS Markit's U.S. Services Business Activity Index was 55.3 for October. Results above 50 separate expansion from contraction.

The firm's chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the results underscore "the dilemma facing the Fed as it seeks to determine the right policy course amid signs of solid growth but soft inflation."

New business grew at the weakest rate since April. Operating costs rose and employment increased because of more demand from clients and "greater business requirements," IHS Markit said. Average prices rose as businesses looked to put their additional costs on customers. The inflation rate also rose, but at the weakest pace since March.

Input costs increased along with output charges, but were still low compared to recent months. Service providers also were more confident in their expectations than last month because of increased demand and the state of the market.

The final U.S. Composite PMI Output Index rose to 55.2 in October from 54.8 a month earlier.

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Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2017 11:52 ET (15:52 GMT)