ISM Survey: Services Sector Growth Eases

The enormous U.S. services sector expanded a bit more slowly in April, making firms more reluctant to hire new workers, according to an industry survey published Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management (search) said its services index slipped to a still-robust 61.7 in April, close to Wall Street forecasts and down from 63.1 in March.

A number above 50 indicates growth in the sector, which accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. economy. The industry encompasses everything from coffee shops and restaurants to hotels and airlines.

The survey's jobs measure fell to 53.3 from 57.1, a bad sign for those hoping April would bring a long-awaited burst of employment creation.

The prices paid index fell to 61.9 from 65.6, while new orders declined to 58.8 from 62.1.