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Service Sector Growth Slows

Though still in expansion mode, the U.S. service sector saw its growth slow in March for the second consecutive month, Bloomberg (subscription) reports.

What’s going on: “The Institute for Supply Management’s composite gauge of services fell 1.2 points to 51.4, largely reflecting a drop in the supplier deliveries index to a record low. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, and the March figure was lower than all but one estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.”

  • Prices paid for materials and services fell more than five points to 53.4, the lowest reading in four years.

The details: The industries that reported growth last month are accommodation and food services; professional, scientific and technical services; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; educational services; construction; management of companies and support services; utilities; retail trade; wholesale trade; other services; finance and insurance; and health care and social assistance.

What it means: “The services price data may temper concerns that the Federal Reserve’s progress on inflation is at risk of stalling.”

  • However, as the chair of the ISM Services Business Survey Committee noted in a statement, “[E]ven with some prices stabilizing, inflation is still a concern.”
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