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July data suggested that growth in the U.S. service sector remained muted, with activity rising at the weakest pace in the current five-month sequence of expansion. A slower increase in new business was also recorded. On a more positive note, the rate of job creation picked up slightly and business sentiment improved markedly from June's record low. On the price front, slower increases were registered for both input costs and output prices during the month.
The seasonally adjusted Markit final U.S. Services PMI™ Business Activity Index1 registered 51.4 in July (earlier 'flash' estimate: 50.9), which was unchanged from the figure recorded in June and above the neutral 50.0 threshold for the fifth consecutive month. However, the latest reading remained indicative of only a very modest expansion of business activity that was softer than the post-crisis trend (55.4).
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