The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 54.1 in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 55.8 in October, the group said yesterday. Economists polled by IFR Markets had expected a 54.8 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, jumped to 76.5 from 63.5. The employment index decreased to 50.8 from 51.8. The new orders index was at 51.1, off from 55.7; backlog of orders jumped to 48.5 from 43.5; new export orders stand at 55.5, down from 56.0; inventories gained to 50.5 from 49.5; inventory sentiment rose to 61.5 from 60.0; the supplier deliveries index increased to 51.5 from 50.0 last month, and imports fell to 49.5 from 55.5. “Non-manufacturing business activity increased for the 56th consecutive month in November,” said Anthony Nieves, chairman of the ISM’s non-manufacturing business survey committee. “The business activity index decreased 1.7 percentage points to 54.1% for the month of November. The new orders index decreased with the index registering 51.1%. The employment index decreased to 50.8% and the prices index increased to 76.5% in November.” “Ten non-manufacturing industries reported increased activity in November. Members’ comments in November remain mixed and concerned about the economy,” he added. “The overall indication in November is continued economic growth in the non-manufacturing sector but at a slower pace than in October.”

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