U.S. service sectors such as retail and real estate grew at a still-rapid but somewhat slower pace in October while an employment guage hit a nine-year high, according to monthly survey of senior executives. The Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing index dropped to 57.1% from 58.6% in September, the nonprofit firm said Wednesday. Readings over 50% signal that more businesses are expanding instead of contracting. New orders fell 1.9 points to 59.1% and production slipped 2.9 points to 60%. Yet the employment gauge, a sign of hiring intentions, rose 1.1 points to 59.6%, the highest level recorded since 2005. The index is compiled from a questionnaire of the executives who buy supplies for their companies.
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