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Service sector slows in October

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(Read caption) This graph shows the Institute for Supply Management's Business Activity Index since 2006.

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Today, the Institute for Supply Management released their latest Non-Manufacturing Report on Business indicating that service related business activity was slowed in October with the business activity component weakening and the overall non-manufacturing index declining to 54.2 from 55.1 in September.

At 55.4 the business activity index declined a notable 7.51% since September but remained 3.94% above the level seen a year earlier.

This month, service industry respondents are sounding mixed reporting "sluggish" conditions but steady activity:

"Business with markets and customers we serve remains strong." (Management of Companies & Support Services)

"Business is steady, with good fourth quarter expected." (Information)

"The sluggish pace of economic recovery coupled with rapid increases in gas prices on the West Coast continue to drag down customer traffic and discretionary spending. Levels remain well below last year." (Arts, Entertainment & Recreation)

"Ongoing concerns about healthcare reform; reluctance to expand or hire." (Health Care & Social Assistance)

"Outlook is positive yet still guarded. Clients have some pent-up demand that they are acting on with short-term contracts." (Professional, Scientific & Technical Services)

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"More companies seeking relief from fuel increases." (Public Administration)

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