The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 49.5 in July, up from 48.2 in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said yesterday.

Economists polled by IFR Markets had expected a 49.0 level.

The prices paid index, closely watched for signs of inflation, slid to 80.8 from 84.5. The employment index increased to 47.1 from 43.8

The business activity index fell to 49.6 from 49.9, the new orders index dipped to 47.9 from 48.6, backlog of orders grew to 52.0 from 49.0, new export orders fell to 47.5 from 52.0, inventories increased to 54.5 from 53.0, inventory sentiment rose to 62.5 from 60.0, the supplier deliveries index climbed to 53.5 from 50.5 last month, and imports fell to 49.0 from 50.5.

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