U.S. service sector slows more than expected in November

FILE PHOTO: The Wolf food restaurant is seen at the Nordstrom flagship store is seen during a media preview in New York, U.S., October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. services sector activity slowed more than expected in November amid lingering concerns about trade tensions and worker shortages, which could revive fears about the economy’s health.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Wednesday its non-manufacturing activity index fell to a reading of 53.9 in last month from 54.7 in October. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index dipping to a reading of 54.5 in November.

The ISM reported on Monday that manufacturing activity contracted for the fourth straight month in November, with new orders falling back to around their lowest level since 2012. The continued manufacturing slump tempered growth expectations for the fourth quarter, which had been boosted by a rush of upbeat reports on the trade deficit, housing and business investment.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Franklin Paul