Though growth in the service sector slowed a bit in June, that key part of the economy has now expanded for 19 consecutive months, the private Institute for Supply Management reported this morning.
Its service sector index stood at 53.3 percent, a 1.3 percentage points decline from May but still above the 50 percent mark that is said to be the line between growth and contraction.
According to the institute, there was slower growth — but growth nonetheless — in its measures of business activity, orders and employment.
As The Associated Press says, the service sector "employs nearly 90 percent of the country's workforce."
Bloomberg News writes that:
"Businesses like FedEx Corp. project the expansion will pick up through the rest of the year as gasoline prices provide relief for households and supply disruptions from Japan abate.
" 'This defines a soft patch,' Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, said before the report. At the same time, 'the more immediate factors which were weighing on services seem to be reversing. That bodes well for the outlook in the second half of the year,' he said."