The U.S. services sector expanded in September as the non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 59.8 in the month, compared to 55.3 in August, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday.
An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 55.4 level.
The prices paid index rose to 66.3 from 57.9. The employment index gained to 56.8 from 56.2.
The business activity/production index grew to 61.3 from 57.5, the new orders index was at 63.0, up from 57.1; backlog of orders climbed to 56.0 from 53.5; new export orders increased to 56.0 from 55.0; inventories fell to 51.5 from 53.5; inventory sentiment dropped to 58.5 from 61.0; the supplier deliveries index increased to 58.0 from 50.5; and imports rose to 52.0 from 50.5.
Members' general comments on business in the month included:
- "Hurricane Irma caused a revenue challenge that will take some time to recover from, interrupting business operations in that region and offsetting growth in others." (Accommodation & Food Services)
- "Our business continues to grow at a good pace." (Health Care & Social Assistance)
- "General outlook looking up, with sales picking up. That will drive spend and investment." (Information)
- "Overall, consistent growth in construction/office renovation jobs. Eight percent more jobs and 6 percent more revenue." (Construction)
- "Positive business trends continue in second half. Business results above plan and higher year-to-year. Forecast above planned results for 2017." (Finance & Insurance)
- "Business still in a down trend due to lack of capital investment in worldwide mining market." (Mining)
- "Hurricane Harvey has been a disruption to normal business activity in the oil and gas industry. Refineries and petrochemical plants were shut down due to the storm, as were many offices along the Gulf Coast. Business is just now returning to some sense of normalcy." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)
- "Continued growth; however, slower pace than in past. Expecting some further disruptions due to weather in Texas and Florida." (Retail Trade)