BALTIMORE (AP) — U.S. services firms expanded at a slower clip in March compared to the prior month, largely because the pace of business activity and new orders fell.
The Institute for Supply Management says its services index dropped to 58.8, from 59.5 in February. Any reading above 50 points toward growth. The services sector has been expanding for the past 98 months, or more than eight years.
The index is drawn from a survey of purchasing managers in the services industry, which includes finance, health care and retail and accounts for the majority of U.S. economic activity. The employment component of the index increased in March while the business activity and new order components declined.