Service sector activity "moderated in October," according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond service-sector activity survey, released Tuesday.

Overall, the service sector revenues index slipped to 3 in October, from 11 in September, while the number of employees index climbed to negative 1 from positive 4, the average wage index rose to 11 from 8, and the expected product demand during the next six months index slid to 6 from 9.

The indexes are the percentage of responding firms reporting increase, less the percentage reporting a decrease.

By sector, the retail area excluding services firms reported the sales revenues index gained to 5 from 3 in September, the number of employees index bounced to negative 12 from negative 33, while the average wages index jumped to positive 2 from negative 24. The inventories index decreased to 12 from 23, while the big-ticket sales index widened to negative 5 from negative 3. The shopper traffic index slumped to negative 11 from positive 1, while expected product demand during the next six months held at 5.

For services firms excluding retail, the revenues index was zero compared to 12 last month, while the number of employees index dipped to 1 from 2, and the average wage index slid to 10 from 12. The expected product demand during the next six months index slipped to 6 from 7.

The current price trend for the two sectors together fell to 1.07 from 1.08, while growing to 1.88 from 1.29 for retail alone and dipping to 0.97 from 0.99 for services, excluding retail.

The expected price trend index for the two sectors together slid to 1.41 in October from 1.50 in September, while increasing to 1.74 from 1.26 for retail alone and slowing to 1.39 from 1.52 for services, excluding retail.

All firms surveyed are located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

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