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

Overall, the service sector revenues index slid to negative 9 in April, from positive 4 in March, while the number of employees index decreased to negative 10 from positive 64, the average wage index climbed to 11 from 5, and the expected product demand during the next six months index held at 11.

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 slumped to negative 23 from negative 18 in March, the number of employees index narrowed to negative 19 from negative 22, while the average wages index jumped to positive 1 from negative 11. The inventories index increased to positive 4 from negative 22, while the big-ticket sales index narrowed to negative 12 from negative 25. The shopper traffic index climbed to negative 9 from negative 25, while expected product demand during the next six months grew to positive 7 from negative 36.

For services firms excluding retail, the revenues index was negative 6 compared to positive 7 last month, while the number of employees index reversed to negative 12 from positive 11, and the average wage index gained to 12 from 9. The expected product demand during the next six months index fell to 9 from 21.

The current price trend for the two sectors together gained to 1.04 from 0.82, while growing to 1.59 from 0.51 for retail alone and climbing to 0.94 from 0.89 for services, excluding retail.

The expected price trend index for the two sectors together rose to 1.32 in April from 1.27 in March, while increasing to 1.77 from 1.32 for retail alone and dipping to 1.26 from 1.27 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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