US service sector expansion slows in November

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) – The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, registered its sixth consecutive month of expansion in November.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday that its index of services activity declined slightly to a reading of 55.9 last month, from a reading of 56.6 in October. Readings above 50 represent expansion in services industries such as restaurants and bars, retail stores and delivery companies.

Business activity declined slightly as did new orders, but both remained in expansion territory.

The index measuring employment increased to 51.5, from 50.1, which was very close to contraction last month.

The gauge for prices also increased from October.

Out of the 18 service sector categories, 14 reported growth in November.

The services sector had been growing for 122 consecutive months – more than a decade – before contracting in April and May as the coronavirus outbreak forced many businesses to close and people to stay home.

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