The service industry in the United States grew at a slower pace in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index.
The ISM index declined to a reading of 53.9, the lowest in five months, from 55.4 the prior month, according to the Tempe, Ariz.-based group. A reading above 50 shows expansion.
The median estimate by economists was 55, according to Bloomberg News.
The report showed a slowdown in orders and hiring as companies remain reluctant to invest in equipment, Bloomberg reported.
“Business spending has been very soft, the consumer has been steady as she goes, there’s mediocre growth and the housing sector has plateaued, at least temporarily,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities, told Bloomberg News.
“Housing should show a “resumption of growth” in early 2014 to support the services sectors,” he said.