WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Growth in service sector activity in the United States slowed in October for the second consecutive month, shows the monthly survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) published on Friday, which nevertheless signals an acceleration of new orders.

The ISM services index stood at 51.8, a five-month low, after 53.6 in September. The services sector has been slowing since August after reaching a six-month peak.

Economists polled by Reuters had on average expected a reading of 53.0 in October.

The 50 mark separates growth and contraction in activity.

The component of new orders received by service firms rose to 55.5 in October from 51.8 in September, which was the lowest level since December.

The paid prices sub-index increased from 58.9 to 58.6.

Some economists consider the ISM subindex of prices paid in services to be a reliable leading indicator of personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation, the preferred measure of price developments by the US Federal Reserve (Fed).

Employment in the sector deteriorated to 50.2 in October compared to 53.4 the previous month.

(Report by Lucia Mutikani, written by Claude Chendjou, edited by Kate Entringer)

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