ISM Service Sector Index Slows in Sept.

Growth in the vast U.S. services sector slowed in September, with a significant decrease in prices paid but a solid employment component, according to an industry survey published Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management's (search) non-manufacturing index fell to 56.7 in September from 58.2 in August, below Wall Street predictions for an increase to 59.0.

A number above 50 indicates growth, while a figure below that threshold denotes contraction in the sector, which accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. economy.

"The ISM non-manufacturing index was a little softer than expected but some of the important components pretty good, particularly the employment component," said Gary Thayer, chief economist at A.G. Edwards and Sons in St. Louis, Mo.

The ISM survey's employment index rose to 54.6 in September from 52.5, while the prices paid index fell to 67.1 from 70.0.

Demand for new orders edged down to 58.5 from 58.6.

The lower-than-expected headline number helped trim narrow early losses in U.S. Treasuries prices, while the euro rose against the dollar.

The giant services sector includes everything from restaurants and hotels to banks and airlines.