U.S. Services Sector Growth at Slowest Pace Since July

The pace of growth in the vast U.S. services sector slowed modestly in October to its lowest level in three months as new orders declined, according to an industry report released Thursday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index eased to 52.9 last month from 53.0 the month before. The reading fell shy of economists' forecasts for 53.5, according to a Reuters survey, and was the lowest level since July.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector. A gauge of new orders fell to 52.4 from 56.5, but the employment component improved to its highest level since June at 53.3 from 48.7.