US firms hire more staff despite slowing services sector growth

Tom Beck
President Obama’s poll ratings are struggling despite a strong economic recovery
The booming American economy is showing signs of slowing down from the breakneck speed it achieved earlier in the year, an influential survey of businesses showed yesterday.

Its dominant services sector slowed for the fifth consecutive month in November, according to Markit. The purchasing managers’ index came in at 56.3, down from 57.1, but still firmly above the 50 mark which indicates growth.

Services firms reported a slowdown in the growth of new orders, hitting the overall index. But the growth is still substantially faster than that seen in the Euro­zone, and US firms are positive about their prospects for next year.

“Increased payroll numbers also reflected an upturn in confidence towards the business outlook,” said Markit. “More than half of the survey panel anticipate a rise in business activity over the year ahead, and the overall degree of confidence picked up since October to its strongest for five months.”

Markit said the data points to annualised growth of 2.5 per cent in the final quarter of the year.

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