Markit Services PMI Down in February, Lowest in Five Months

The February US Services Purchasing Managers' Index conducted by Markit came in at 53.8 percent, down 1.8 percent from the January estimate and its lowest in five months. The consensus was for 53.9 percent. Markit's Services PMI is a diffusion index: A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction.

Here is the opening from the latest press release:

February data pointed to a slowdown in U.S. service sector growth. Rates of expansion in activity, new work and employment all eased. Meanwhile, volumes of work-in-hand were depleted for the first time since November last year. Sentiment regarding the year ahead also weakened, despite remaining upbeat overall. On the price front, both input costs and output charges increased at slower rates.

The seasonally adjusted Markit U.S. Services Business Activity Index dropped from January’s 14-month high of 55.6 to 53.8 in February. Though still signalling a solid expansion of service sector output, the latest reading was the lowest in fivemonths and below the long-run series average (55.3). Panellists nevertheless indicated that activity had been bolstered by new contract wins and the launch of new products. [Press Release]

Here is a snapshot of the series since mid-2012.

Markit Services PMI