Markit Economics’ flash reading for U.S. service sector activity for August came in at 58.5.

That was better than the consensus forecast for 58.0, but down from 60.8 in July.

“The U.S. service sector continues to enjoy a strong growth phase, but the latest survey suggests the recovery has lost some momentum since hitting a post-crisis peak in June,” Markit’s Tim Moore wrote. “Output expanded at the slowest pace for three months in August, while new business growth picked up only slightly from July’s recent low.”

However, outlook new business growth and outlook optimism spurred hiring, Markit said, with the rate of workforce expansion climbing month-on-month. The latest upturn in payroll numbers marks four-and-a-half years of continuous jobs growth.

Here’s what the survey now looks like — we’re still well above the survey’s 55.7 average.

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