Markit Economics reported a jump in service-sector activity during September, although new orders and hiring slowed.
The firm’s flash purchasing manager’s index – a preliminary report – was 51.9, beating the forecast for 51.2. When the index is above 50, it indicates that the sector is in expansion.
Growth in new orders slowed to a four-month low, and in turn, companies reduced hiring, Markit said.
Its report is based on a survey of managers responsible for approving service-company purchases. Two-thirds of US economic activity and the majority of job creation happens in the service sector.
“The service sector sent mixed signals in September,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
“Although business activity showed the largest monthly rise since April, inflows of new business slowed and employment growth was the weakest for three-and-a-half years. A drop in optimism about the year ahead to a near post-crisis low meanwhile cast a shadow over the outlook.”