US services sector expands in August as prices ease

US services sector expands in August as prices ease

The American services sector grew at a somewhat quick pace in August amid indications of easing supply issues and decelerating price gains, according to an industry survey released on Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management’s services index went up to 56.9 percent, a little above the July level, flouting expectations of a decline. The new orders index rose 1.9 percentage points, and employment jumped 1.1 points, ISM said, while prices went down 0.8.

“The services sector had a slight uptick in growth for the month of August due to increases in business activity, new orders, and employment,” ISM survey chair Anthony Nieves said in a statement.

Companies replying to the survey noted “some supply chain, logistics and cost improvements; however, material shortages remain a challenge,” he said. A hopeful prospect was that “employment improved slightly despite a restricted labor market.”

Two-thirds of the US economy depends on the service sector, which comprises a large variety of services, from education to IT to medicine.

Even in the middle of very high US inflation, the sector has expanded steadily for 151 months, except for a two-month decline as the United States battled with the coronavirus pandemic in April and May 2020.