to financial data firm Markit, activity
in the U.S. services sector held at its highest level in 4-1/2 years in July,
though readings for new business and employment growth weakened.
Markit report showed preliminary services Purchasing Managers Index was 61.0 in
July, unchanged from June and above expectations for a reading of 59.8. A
reading above 50 signals expansion in economic activity, and June's reading was
the highest final reading since the survey began in October 2009.
sector continued to add employees, though at a slower pace. The employment
index fell from 56.1, the fastest rate on record, to 52.8 in July. The new
business subcomponent also fell from June's record level.
stated, "service sector companies continue to perform strongly against
post-recession trends, and overall the latest manufacturing and services PMI
surveys suggest that the US economy has enjoyed a strong start to the second
half of 2014."
composite PMI, a weighted average of its manufacturing and services indexes,
dipped to 60.9 from June's reading of 61, a level that also represented a
record high for a final reading.