Markit said its “flash” reading of services data for July was unchanged from a previous reading of 61.

Expectations were for a reading of 59.9.

At 60.9, the output sub-index stayed at record highs. But new business growth eased for the first time in four months. Hiring and input price growth slowed.

Markit economist Tim Moore’s comments reflect the slightly mixed data:

…latest PMI figures provide an early signal that robust growth momentum has been sustained into the third quarter, setting the U.S. economy firmly on course to recover some of the ground lost earlier in the year.

While a cyclical upswing appears underway across the service sector, the latest survey provides some indication that a smoother ride is not yet fully entrenched. Service providers saw new business gains slip to a three-month low, while payroll growth moderated since June amid a drop in confidence towards the year-ahead business outlook.

Here’s what it’s looked like recently:

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