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Financial News: U.S. Service Sector Growth Slows Modestly In August

U.S. Service Sector Growth Slows Modestly In August

09/03/2020 - 10:36:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Service sector activity in the U.S. saw continued growth in the month of August, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Thursday, although the pace of growth slowed modestly.

The ISM said its services PMI dipped to 56.9 in August from 58.1 in July, but a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 57.0.

The modest decrease by the headline index partly reflected a notably slower pace of growth in new orders, as the new orders index tumbled to 56.8 in August from 67.7 in July. The business activity index also slumped to 62.4 from 67.2.

Meanwhile, the ISM said the employment index jumped to 47.9 in August from 42.1 in July, indicating a modest contraction in employment in the service sector.

The report showed the prices index also surged up to 64.2 in August from 57.6 in July, reaching the highest reading since November of 2018.

"Respondents' comments are mostly optimistic and industry specific about business conditions and the economy as businesses are starting to reopen," said Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM Services Business Survey Committee.

"Industries that have not reopened remain concerned about the ongoing uncertainty," he added. "There is a challenge with capacity and logistics due to the pandemic and the impact on deliveries and order fulfillment."

On Tuesday, the ISM released a separate report showing manufacturing activity in the U.S. expanded at a faster rate in the month of August.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index rose to 56.0 in August from 54.2 in July, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 54.5.

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