Rate of US services expansion plummets to a four-year low

Julian Harris
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AMERICA’S economic prospects were dealt a blow yesterday as three separate sets of data pointed to a stuttering recovery.

A widely-regarded measure of the US service sector plummeted to reveal the slowest rate of growth for four years.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 51.6 last month, the worst score for the index since February 2010 and below expectations. Figures over 50 indicate growth.

Earlier in the day the latest ADP national employment report showed just 139,000 jobs added by the US private sector in February, also below expectations. And the number of jobs added in previous months was revised down by ADP.

Meanwhile, Markit’s own survey of US service sector business activity fell to its slowest pace of expansion since October.

Weak US data has been blamed by some analysts on the freezing weather experienced in 2014.