The rate of expansion in business activity at U.S. service providers picked up for the first time in three months during September, but remained relatively modest. Meanwhile, growth of new orders eased to a four-month low and companies reacted to modest inflows of new work by reducing their rate of hiring. There was no sign of inflationary pressures building during the month as both input costs and output prices rose at weaker rates than in August. A dip in confidence was also registered in the latest survey period.
Adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit Flash U.S. Services PMI™ Business Activity Index1 1 Please note that Markit's PMI data, flash and final, are derived from information collected by Markit from a different panel of companies to those that participate in the ISM Non-Manufacturing Report on Business. No information from the ISM survey is used in the production of Markit's PMI. rose to 51.9 in September from the previous month's final reading of 51.0. This signalled the fastest monthly rise in activity since April, albeit one that was still relatively modest. Activity has now increased in each of the past seven months. Where higher activity was recorded, this was widely linked by panellists to ongoing new business growth.
However, although continuing to increase during September, new business was up only modestly compared to August. In fact, the rate of growth eased to a four-month low. The pace of accumulation in backlogs of work also eased and was the slowest in the current three-month sequence of rising outstanding business.
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