Service Sector Expansion Slows in December -- IHS Markit

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Growth in the service sector slowed during the month of December and optimism about future performance fell to its lowest level in the past 15 months, according to a Thursday report from IHS Markit Ltd.

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The final seasonally adjusted IHS Markit U.S. Services Business Activity Index fell to 53.7, higher than the previous flash reading but lower than 54.5 in November.

Workforce numbers rose but at the slowest pace since June, the report said.

There was less pressure from inflation, with both input and charge prices softening, but the rate was higher than the trend, IHS Markit said.

Service providers' business confidence was the lowest it has been since September 2016.

The final U.S. Composite PMI Output Index fell to 54.1 last month but was higher than the flash reading. In November, the index was 54.5.

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"A welcome improvement in manufacturing output growth was countered by a slowdown in the comparatively larger services economy," IHS Markit Chief Business Economist Chris Williamson said in prepared remarks.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 04, 2018 11:47 ET (16:47 GMT)