U.S. Economy Loses Steam

Jobs, businesses, not looking good


The vast majority of U.S. businesses expanded at a slower pace, and private-sector firms hired less, adding to earlier warnings the economy is losing momentum.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday its nonmanufacturing index fell to a seven-month low of 54.4 in March from 56 in February, indicating activity cooled off. Analysts expected it to remain steady. The report saw sharp decelerations in jobs, orders and exports.

ISM's factory gauge out Monday also showed slowing growth .