December 5, 2011 / 3:40 PM / 7 years ago

Service sector growth slowest since Jan 2010: ISM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The pace of growth in the vast U.S. services sector slowed in November to the lowest level in nearly two years, according to an industry report released on Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 52.0 last month from 52.9 the month before. The reading was the lowest since January 2010 and was below economists’ forecasts for a reading of 53.5, according to a Reuters survey.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

ISM services “is pretty much in line with the market sense that though the economy has improved, it is still not growing very quickly. “ said Cary Leahey, managing director and senior economist at Decision Economics in New York. “This is the first disappointing indicator we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks.”

The ISM services gauge of new orders rose to 53.0 from 52.4 in October, and the employment component fell to 48.9 from 53.3.

U.S. stock indexes traded steady at 1 percent higher on Monday following the release of the data, while U.S. Treasury debt prices slightly trimmed price losses.

Reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Padraic Cassidy

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