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The economy's non-manufacturing, or services, sector grew in October for the 81st consecutive month, but at a slower pace than in September.

The nation’s purchasing and supply executives, in the latest Non-Manufacturing Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report on business say the NMI registered 54.8% last month, down 2.3% from September reading of 57.1 percent.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion; below 50 means contraction.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index fell 2.6% to 57.7%, reflecting growth for the 87th consecutive month; the New Orders Index came in at 57.7%, a loss of 2.3%; and the Employment Index was down 4.1% to 53.1%.

The Prices Index rose 2.6% to 56.6%, indicating prices were up in October for the seventh consecutive month.

There has been a slight cooling off in the non-manufacturing sector month-over- month, which would suggest that last month’s increases weren’t sustainable, according to Anthony Nieves, who heads the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Industry performance

The 13 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in October were:

  1. Transportation & Warehousing;
  2. Construction;
  3. Other Services;
  4. Management of Companies & Support Services;
  5. Information;
  6. Professional, Scientific & Technical Services;
  7. Real Estate, Rental & Leasing;
  8. Wholesale Trade;
  9. Utilities;
  10. Finance & Insurance;
  11. Retail Trade;
  12. Accommodation & Food Services; and
  13. Health Care & Social Assistance.

The five industries reporting contraction in October were:

  1. Educational Services;
  2. Mining;
  3. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting;
  4. Public Administration; and
  5. Arts, Entertainment & Recreation.
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Jobless claims

First-time filings for state unemployment benefits moved higher last week, although the Department of Labor (DOL) says there were no special factors responsible for the increase.

The seasonally adjusted initial claims level was 265,000, in the week ending October 29, up 7,000 from the previous week's unrevised level. Even with the increase, initial claims have been below 300,000 for 87 weeks in a row, the longest streak since 1970.

The four-week moving average, which lacks volatility found in the weekly tally and is considered a more accurate reading of the labor market, rose 4,750 from a week earlier to 257,750.

The complete report may be found on the DOL website.

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