WASHINGTON, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 03rd Nov, 2016 ) - The US economy's huge service sector was still growing but at a slower pace in October, as employment and new orders declined, the Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday. The ISM's Non-Manufacturing Index slipped 2.3 points from September to 54.8, which also is the average for the last 12 months and indicates growth in services, the major driver of the US economy. Thirteen of the 18 sectors surveyed reported growth last month, with agriculture the only sector that is now reporting contraction after showing expanding the previous month.
"food industry is reeling from high avocado pricing due to a labor dispute between packers and growers," one survey respondent said. "Otherwise, commodities have remained as usual given the transition to seasonal growing regions." The new orders index fell by the same amount as the overall index, dipping to 57.7, while the employment index dropped 4.1 to 53.1. However, the price index rose to 56.6, a 2.6 point increase, and backlog of orders remained at 52.0 after jumping in September, which shows continued vibrancy in the sector. The ISM's manufacturing index for October released earlier this week showed that smaller sector of the US economy also is still growing at a modest pace, rising slightly to 51.9 from 51.4.