U.S. Service Sector Growth Slows in December

Reuters

A gauge of growth in the dominant U.S. services sector fell short of expectations for December, hitting a six-month low as indexes on employment, orders and business activity all declined.

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The Institute for Supply Management said on Tuesday its services index fell to 56.2 for December, compared with 59.3 in November. The December figure fell short of the consensus for a 58 reading, according to a Reuters poll.

Two components of the survey, prices and order backlogs, fell below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.

Indexes on imports and exports both showed notable declines, while the reading on new orders fell to 58.9, lowest since April.

(Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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