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US nonmanufacturing sector grows at slower rate in May

Growth in the U.S. nonmanufacturing sector continued in May but at a slower pace as the nonmanufacturing index published by the Institute for Supply Management reached 56.9%, down 0.6 percentage point from 57.5% in April.

In its report released June 5, the ISM said the business activity index dropped by 1.7 percentage points to 60.7% in May from 62.4% in April, while new orders fell by 5.5 percentage points to 57.7% from 63.2%.

The employment index jumped 6.4 percentage points to 57.8%, while prices paid by nonmanufacturing organizations for purchased materials and services plunged 8.4 points to 49.2%, declining for the first time in 13 months.

According to the latest ISM index, 17 nonmanufacturing industries reported growth in May, buoyed by the expansion recorded in the employment index. These industries included real estate; rental and leasing; accommodation and food services; utilities; wholesale trade; mining; health care and social assistance; retail trade; finance and insurance; and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. The only industry that contracted in May was educational services.