Like Manufacturing, Non-Manufacturing Growth Slows In August

By John S. McClenahen The non-manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy, which includes construction, mining, utilities, and finance and banking, continued to grow in August, but, like manufacturing, more slowly than in July. The non-manufacturing business activity index compiled by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in Tempe, Ariz., slowed to 58.2% in August, down 6.6 percentage points from July's 64.8%. ISM's manufacturing index slipped three percentage points to 59% in August. In both measures, a figure above 50% indicates that sector of the economy generally is expanding; a number below 50% suggests it is contracting. New orders among non-manufacturing firms slowed last month, falling 7.8 percentage points to 58.6% from 66.4% in July. Of the 17 industry groups included in the non-manufacturing index, mining, utilities and eight others reported business growth in August, six, including construction, reported contraction, and one was unchanged.

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