The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 48.2 in May, down from 51.7 in May, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said Thursday.

Economists polled by IFR Markets had expected a 51.0 level.

The prices paid index, closely watched for signs of inflation, rose to 84.5 from 77.0. The employment index decreased to 43.8 from 48.7.

The business activity index fell to 49.9 from 53.6, the new orders index rose to 48.6 from 53.6, the backlog of orders held at 49.0, new export orders slid to 52.0 from 54.0, inventories decreased to 53.0 from 54.0, inventory sentiment fell to 60.0 from 66.5, the supplier deliveries index dipped to 50.5 from 51.0 last month, and imports rose to 50.5 from 48.0.

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