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Although the rate of growth was slower, the services, or non-manufacturing sector expanded in July for the 91st straight month.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reports its Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) slipped 3.5% last month for a reading of 53.9%. A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below that suggests contraction.

The New Orders Index came in at 55.1%, a loss of 5.4%; the Employment Index dipped 2.2% to 53.6%; and the Prices Index jumped 3.6% to 55.7%, indicating prices increased in July for the second month in a row.

Performance by industry

The following 15 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in July: 

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

Just two industries reported contraction:

  1. Management of Companies & Support Services; and
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting.
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Jobless claims

From the Department of Labor (DOL), word that initial jobless claims are down for a fourth consecutive week.

The number of people filing first-time applications for state unemployment benefits totaled 240,000 in the week ending July 29, a drop of 5,000 the previous week, in which the figure was revised up by 1,000. This marks the 126th straight week that the initial claims level has been below 300,000.

The four-week moving average fell by 2,500 to 241,750. This measure of claims is considered a more accurate gauge of the labor market than due to its relative lack of volatility.

The full report is available on the DOL website.

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