Partly reflecting a slowdown in the pace of job growth in the service sector, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected decrease by its index of activity in the sector.
The ISM said its non-manufacturing index fell to 56.8 in April from 58.8 in March. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector, economists had expected the index to show a more modest decrease to 58.1.
“There was a slowing in the rate of growth that was mostly attributed to the decline in the Employment and Supplier Deliveries indexes,” said Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
He added, “The respondents have expressed concern regarding the uncertainty about tariffs and the effect on the cost of goods.”
The report said the employment index slumped to 53.6 in April from 56.6 in March, while the supplier deliveries index tumbled to 54.5 from 58.5.
The business activity index also declined to 59.1 in April from 60.6 in March but still indicated growth for the 105th consecutive month.
Meanwhile, the new orders index edged up to 60.0 in April from 59.5 in the previous month, suggesting a modestly faster rate of growth.
The prices index also inched up to 61.8 in April from 61.5 in March, indicating prices increased for the 26th consecutive month.
On Tuesday, the ISM released a separate report showing growth in manufacturing activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of April.
The ISM said its purchasing managers index dropped to 57.3 in April from 59.3 in March, while economists had expected the index to dip to 58.3.