The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index increased to 50.5 in January, up from 49.8 in December, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said yesterday.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 51.0 level.

The prices paid index, closely watched for signs of inflation, grew to 61.2 from 59.6. The employment index increased to 44.6 from 43.6.

The business activity index slid to 52.2 from 53.2; the new orders index was at 54.7, up from 52.0; backlog of orders slipped to 45.5 from 48.0; new export orders remained at 46.0; inventories decreased to 46.5 from 51.5; inventory sentiment climbed to 64.5 from 61.0; the supplier deliveries index held at 50.5; and imports slipped to 47.0 from 52.5.

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