U.S. Service Sector Expands at a Slower Rate in March: ISM Report

Business activity in the service sector increased at a slower rate in March 2007, according to the latest ISM report by the nation's purchasing and supply executives. The index of business activity in the non-manufacturing sector registered 52.4 in March, down from 54.3 in February. Wall Street was expecting a reading of 54.7. The index is at its lowest level since April 2003.

According to the Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Business Survey report, non-manufacturing business activity increased for the 48th consecutive month in March, with Business Activity, New Orders and Employment increased at a slower rate in March than in February. 

The Prices Index increased 9.5 percentage points this month to 63.3 percent. Ten non-manufacturing industries reported increased activity in March. 

Members' comments in March indicate a concern with fuel costs, the economy and the impact on business conditions. The overall indication in March is continued economic growth in the non-manufacturing sector, but at a slower pace than in February.

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