Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. service-sector business grew in September for the 116th consecutive month, but at a slower rate than anticipated, the New York-based Institute for Supply Management said Thursday.
The non-manufacturing index fell from 56.4 percent in August to 52.6 percent in September, the weakest growth in three years. Economists expected the index to hit 55.3 percent in September.
The index reached a post-recession peak of 60.8 percent in the fall of 2018. Rates above 50 percent represent growth and anything below 50 percent is considered a contraction.
Among the related indexes that fell in September, were employment (50.4 percent), production, (55.2 percent), new orders (53.7 percent) and inventories (53 percent). Imports contracted from 50.5 percent in August to 49 percent in September.
Others grew, including supplier deliveries (51 percent), prices (60 percent), backlog of orders (54 percent), new export orders (52 percent) and inventory sentiment (58 percent).
The report came one day after U.S. stock markets fell for the second consecutive day, including a 494-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.