Service-Sector Growth Slips in September

The pace of growth in the U.S. services sector fell in September to its lowest level in three months but employment hit a nine-year high, according to an industry report released on Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 58.6 last month from 59.6 in August, which was its highest level since its inception in January 2008. The September reading was slightly above economists' forecasts for 58.5, according to a Reuters survey.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

Its index of business activity fell to 62.9 in September, down from 65.0 in August. The August reading was the highest since a matching December 2004 reading.

Meanwhile, the employment index rose to 58.5, the highest since August 2005, compared with 57.1 in August. That dovetails with the government's closely watched monthly payrolls report, also out on Friday, which showed 207,000 services sector jobs created last month, accounting for more than 80 percent of the 248,000 jobs created overall.