Service sector grows in November despite tariff, employment concerns

The U.S. services sector expanded in the month of November, according to data released Thursday by the Institute for Supply Management.

The ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 60.7 last month. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected the ISM non-manufacturing index to hit 59.7 for November, down slightly from 60.3 in October. A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding.

“The non-manufacturing sector continued to reflect strong growth in November. However, concerns persist about employment resources and the impact of tariffs,” said Anthony Nieves, ISM chair, in a statement. Notwithstanding those concerns, “respondents remain positive about current business conditions and the direction of the economy.”

Despite the better-than-anticipated number, U.S. equities held near sessions lows following the release, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down nearly 500 points. The index is down more than 1,300 points in the last two trading sessions as fears of economic slowdown and an inverted yield curve spook investors.

The data release came after ADP and Moody’s Analytics reported that companies slowed the pace of job creation in November amid a tight labor market. The two firms said earlier on Thursday that private companies added 179,000 payrolls last month. Economists polled by Refinitiv had forecast a gain of 195,000.

ISM reported earlier in the week that manufacturing activity rose last month. The ISM manufacturing index increased in November to 59.3 from 57.7 in October.

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