U.S. Private Sector Grows at Slowest Pace Since March -- IHS Markit

By Adrienne RobertsFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The U.S. private sector grew at the slowest pace since March, according to a report released Thursday, with a slowdown in services growth offsetting an upturn in manufacturing output.

The Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, a survey from IHS Markit that takes the temperature of the private sector, dropped to 53 in December from 54.5 in November. Results above 50 separate expansion from contraction.

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December showed "manufacturing production expanded at the fastest pace since January, while service sector output growth eased to a 15-month low," IHS Markit said in the report.

Job creation hit a seven-month low in December, the report said, likely caused by softer new business growth and a moderation in confidence regarding next year's outlook.

The Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI Index rose to 55 in December from 53.9 last month. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal were predicting 53.8.

The Flash U.S. Services PMI Business Activity Index was 52.4 in December, a drop from 54.5 last month. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal were predicting 54.4.

"Similar divergences (in the manufacturing and services sectors) were seen in relation to future growth, with business expectations picking up in manufacturing to a near-two-year high but waning markedly in services to the lowest for one and a half years," IHS Markit Chief Business Economist Chris Williamson said in prepared remarks.

The final December reports will be released Jan. 2 for manufacturing and Jan. 4 for services and composite indicators.

Write to Adrienne Roberts at adrienne.roberts@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 14, 2017 10:33 ET (15:33 GMT)