Services growth cools as price gauge drops to four-year low

Growth in the U.S. services sector eased in March for a second month while a gauge of input costs slumped to a four-year low.

The Institute for Supply Management’s composite gauge of services fell 1.2 points to 51.4, largely reflecting a drop in the supplier deliveries index to a record low. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, and the March figure was lower than all but one estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

In this Sept. 30, 2020, photo, waiter Lenworth Thompson serves lunch to David Zennario, left, and Alex Ecklin at Junior's Restaurant in New York. Growth in the U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, eased in March for a second straight month.

The index of prices paid for materials and services decreased more than 5 points to 53.4, the lowest since March 2020, according to the report issued Wednesday.

That stands in stark contrast to ISM data earlier week showing a manufacturing input-cost gauge climbed to the highest level since July 2022, suggesting the pace of goods disinflation is leveling off.

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