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U.S. service sector growth remains sluggish in August

Staff Writer | August 27, 2016
U.S. service providers indicated another month of lacklustre growth in August, with business activity, new orders and employment all rising at a slower pace than in July.
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America   Markit Flash U.S. Services PMI
Survey respondents generally cited subdued underlying demand conditions and uncertainty ahead of the presidential election as factors that had dampened growth in August.

Nonetheless, the balance of service sector firms expecting a rise in business activity over the year ahead remained well above the survey-record low seen in June.

Adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit Flash U.S. Services PMI Business Activity Index posted 50.9 in August, to remain above the neutral 50.0 threshold for the sixth month running.

However, the index was down from 51.4 and at its lowest level since February.

Softer business activity growth was mainly linked to muted new business gains in August. Reflecting this, latest data signalled that new work expanded at the slowest pace since May and remained much weaker than its post-crisis trend.

This contributed to a renewed slowdown in job creation during August, with payroll numbers rising at the least marked ratesince December 2014.

Some firms reported that subdued demand conditions and the need to cut costs had led to more cautious staff hiring plans and the non-replacement of leavers.