Service industries unexpectedly grew at a slower pace in December, a sign that some parts of the U.S. economy are improving in fits and starts.
The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index fell to a six-month low of 53 from 53.9 in November, the Tempe, Arizona-based group reported today. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 54.7. Readings above 50 indicate growth in the industries that make up almost 90 percent of the economy.
Gains among construction companies and retailers were offset by slowdowns at hotels and restaurants, entertainment and real-estate firms, showing it will take time for the improvement in growth to ripple through all sectors of the world's largest economy. The report was at odds with other data that showed factory orders were picking up as manufacturing gained momentum entering 2014.