Published: Thu, April 06, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

U.S. non-manufacturing activity slows expansion pace in March

U.S. non-manufacturing activity slows expansion pace in March

The survey also showed that the indexes for new orders and production remained strong at 64.5 percent and 57.6 percent, but each slid by 0.6 percentage points and 5.3 percentage points, respectively.

The Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday said its index of non-manufacturing activity - tracking industries including health care, finance, agriculture and construction - fell to 55.2 in March from 57.6 in February.

The Prices Index decreased 4.2 percentage points from the February reading of 57.7% to 53.5%, indicating prices increased for the 12th consecutive month, at a slower rate in March.

Seventeen of 18 manufacturing industries grew in March, ISM said, led by makers of electrical equipment and appliances. The prices paid index fell to 53.5 from 57.7.

The ISM non-manufacturing index signaled economic growth cooled a bit in March.

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The Employment Index decreased 3.6 percentage points in March to 51.6% from the February reading of 55.2%. Eight industries reported slower deliveries, while three reported faster deliveries. A gauge of factory employment jumped to its highest reading since June 2011.

The US dollar was trading in a mixed manner, gaining against the Japanese yen, losing to the British pound, slightly beating the euro and the kiwi while slipping marginally against the Aussie and the loonie.

A separate report from the Commerce Department on Monday showed construction spending increased 0.8 percent to $1.19 trillion in February, the highest level since April 2006, after dropping 0.4 percent in January.

The New Orders Index registered 58.9%, 2.3 percentage points lower than the reading of 61.2% in February. Gross domestic product increased at a 2.1 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

State and local governments have also spent less on construction in the past year. Spending on private nonresidential structures fell 0.3 percent.

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