The U.S. services sector expanded at a slower pace in July with the non-manufacturing business activity composite index reaching 52.7 in the month, down from  53.3 in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 53.6 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, dipped to 56.6 from 60.9. The employment index decreased to 52.5 from 54.1.

The business activity-production index jumped to 56.1 from 53.4, the new orders index edged down to 51.7 from 53.6, the backlog of orders dropped to 44.0 from 48.5 and new export orders fell to 49.0 from 57.0.

Inventories rose to 56.5 from 53.5; inventory sentiment rose to 59.5 from 58.5; the supplier deliveries index fell to 50.5 from 52.0; and imports increased to 47.5 from 46.5.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.