US service sector contracts, but at slower pace

May 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A private measure of the U.S. services sector contracted for the seventh straight month in April but at a slower pace, the latest sign the economic downturn could be moderating. The services index from the Institute for Supply Management came in at 43.7 in April compared with 40.8 in March. Any reading below 50 indicates the service sector, where most Americans work, is contracting.

Still, the reading was higher than economists expected and provides another sign the economy's steep downturn could be bottoming out.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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