The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 50.9 in September, up from 48.4 in August, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said yesterday.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 50.0 level.

An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion.

The prices paid index, closely watched for signs of inflation, fell to 63.1 from 63.1.

The employment index increased to 44.3 from 43.5.

The business activity index rose to 55.1 from 51.3, the new orders index grew to 54.2 from 49.9, and the backlog of orders surged to 51.5 from 41.0,

New export orders decreased to 48.5 from 54.0, inventories increased to 47.4 from 43.0, inventory sentiment slid to 62.0 from 67.5, the supplier deliveries index rose to 50.0 from 49.0, and imports grew to 51.5 from 49.0.

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