The Institute for Supply Management’s survey of service-oriented companies such as hospitals, retailers and restaurants fell to 53.9% in November from 54.7%. It was the softest reading since July.
Numbers over 50% are viewed as positive for the economy, but the index has come down sharply from a 13-year high of 60.8% just a little over a year ago.
What’s more, ISM’s manufacturing gauge stayed below the key 50% cutoff line in November for the fourth straight month.
Read: ISM U.S. manufacturing sector slumps further in November
What happened: The index for business production in the service sector slumped 5.4 points to 51.6%, dropping to the lowest level since 2010. That accounted for most of the decline in the overall survey.
Yet new orders actually rose, as did employment and exports. The index for employment rose to 55.5% from 53.7%, suggesting an increase in hiring for the holiday season.
Altogether, 12 of the 17 industries tracked by ISM said their businesses were expanding. A year ago all but one were growing.
A similar survey of the service side of the U.S. economy produced by IHS Markit edged up to 51.6% in November from 50.6%.
Big picture: The U.S. economy has slowed along with the rest of the globe in no small part because of the ongoing trade dispute with China.
The spat between the world’s two largest economies has disrupted supply chains and caused businesses to spend and invest more conservatively. Farmers and manufacturers have been particularly hard hit.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.67% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.75% rose in Wednesday trades for the first time in four days.
The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +3.15% edged up to 1.74%. One year ago the yield was above 3%.