Service sector activity hits an 11-month low

The service sector continues to drive the US economy forward.

The latest services PMI reading from Markit Economics showed the index hit 54.3 in December, up slightly from the 54 that was expected and the preliminary 53.7 reported earlier.

This was an 11-month low for the measure and below the 55.8 average seen since late 2009.

The Institute for Supply Management’s services reading also showed expansion — coming in at 55.3 for December — though this was below expectations for a reading of 56.0

Services make the vast majority of the contributions to US GDP.

All readings above 50 indicate expansion in the sector while readings below 50 indicate contraction.

According to Markit, its reading “suggested that weaker confidence among clients, alongside uncertainty about the business outlook, had resulted in slower output growth in December.”

Markit’s Chris Williamson added, “The PMI surveys show the service sector losing momentum alongside a stalling of growth in the manufacturing sector, pushing the overall rate of economic expansion down to the weakest for a year. While the survey data indicate that the economy grew at a reasonably healthy 1.9% annualised clip in the fourth quarter, the weakness seen in the final month of the year raises concerns that growth is losing momentum, possibly quite markedly.”

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