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Markets News Afternoon: US service sector slowed in April; Private sector employment grew at modest pace
By Finfacts Team
May 4, 2011 - 4:32 PM

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US: Service industries in the US expanded in April at the slowest pace in eight months as higher fuel prices prompted companies to cut back.

Anthony Nieves, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee said: "The NMI registered 52.8% in April, 4.5 percentage points lower than the 57.3% registered in March, and indicating continued growth at a slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased 6 percentage points to 53.7%, reflecting growth for the 21st consecutive month, but at a slower rate than in March. The New Orders Index decreased substantially by 11.4 percentage points to 52.7%. The Employment Index decreased 1.8 percentage points to 51.9%, indicating growth in employment for the eighth consecutive month, but at a slower rate.

The Prices Index decreased 2 percentage points to 70.1%, indicating that prices increased at a slightly slower rate in April when compared to March. According to the NMI, 17 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in April. Respondents' comments are mixed about overall business conditions; however, they are mostly positive. Respondents' comments also indicate concern over rising fuel costs, commodity costs and the lingering uncertainty about the economy."

The 17 industries reporting growth in April based on the NMI composite index - - listed in order - - are: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Management of Companies & Support Services; Information; Other Services; Wholesale Trade; Utilities; Public Administration; Accommodation & Food Services; Construction; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Educational Services; Health Care & Social Assistance; Transportation & Warehousing; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; and Finance & Insurance. The only industry reporting contraction in April is Retail Trade.

Private Sector Employment: Employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose 179,000 from March to April on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report released today. The estimated change of employment from February 2011 to March 2011 was revised up to 207,000 from the previously reported increase of 201,000. Today’s ADP National Employment Report shows that labour market conditions continued to improve in April, but only at a moderate pace. The increase of 179,000 is close to consensus expectations both for today’s report and for Friday’s non-farm jobs number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While employment accelerated sharply around the turn of the year, the monthly gains have been holding fairly steady around 200,000 since then. Employment growth at this pace is consistent with only modest declines in the unemployment rate.

April’s ADP Report estimates employment in the service-providing sector rose by 138,000, marking 16 consecutive months of employment gains. Employment in the goods-producing sector rose 41,000, the sixth consecutive monthly gain, while manufacturing employment rose 25,000, the seventh consecutive monthly gain.

Employment among large businesses, defined as those with 500 or more workers, increased by 11,000, while employment among medium-size businesses, defined as those with between 50 and 499 workers, increased by 84,000. Employment for small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 50 workers, rose 84,000 in April.

In April, employment in the construction industry increased 9,000, only the second monthly increase since June 2007. Since December 2010, however, construction employment has, on balance, risen, suggesting that finally employment in this sector has bottomed out. The total decrease in construction employment since its peak in January 2007 is 2,115,000.

Employment in the financial services sector increased 4,000 in April.

ADP Employment Report:

US Markets

In New York Wednesday, the Dow fell 89 points or 0.70% to 12,718.

The S&P 500 slid 0.71% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.63%.

Live US Indices

European Markets

The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 has dipped 1.37% Wednesday.

In Dublin the ISEQ has dipped 1.06%.

CRH has slid 2.06%; IFG is up almost 17% or 25 cent.

European benchmarks

Irish share prices

Euribor Interest Rates

Commodities

Crude oil for June delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $109.39 per barrel down $1.66 from Tuesday's close. In London, Brent for June delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $121.28.

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.4860 and at £0.8994.

Gold

Gold is trading at $1,523.00 per oz in New York.

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