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Purchasing Managers Index Falls to 55.9 in November

Wall Street Journal (12/03/15) Anna Louie Sussman

The U.S. service sector slowed its pace of expansion in November as business activity declined, but is still firmly in growth territory, according to the Institute for Supply Management. ISMs nonmanufacturing purchasing-managers index fell to 55.9 from 59.1 in October, marking the lowest reading since May. Despite the fall, November’s reading showcases the resilience of the domestic services sector, which has expanded each month for nearly six straight years. This growth contrasts with the manufacturing sector, which slipped into contraction in November for the first time since 2012, due to reduced demand from overseas economies hit by a strong dollar.

The business activity, new orders, and employment sections of the index all dropped by more than 4 points, but still posted readings above 55. Business activity had the sharpest decrease, falling to 58.2. The index’s fall was expected, particularly since the October reading was unusually high, according to Anthony Nieves, who oversees the ISM survey. “It’s still good rates of growth, it’s just cooled off a little bit,” he says.