August 5, 2009

U.S. service activity declines

Activity in the U.S. service industries sector fell slightly in July, an industry group said Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index in the non-manufacturing sector dropped 0.6 percentage points to 46.4, marking the 10th consecutive month of declines in the Purchasing Managers Index.

Activity slowed in new orders, employment, imports and exports in the month.

Economists expected better results, predicting the sector would rise 1 percentage point to 48. The ISM's index uses 50 as a break-even point, with lower numbers indicating contraction and higher numbers indicating growth.

The price index dropped 12.4 percentage points, to 41.2, indicating a significant decrease in prices paid from June, said Anthony Nieves, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.