30ºF

US service sector contracts for second month in May

WASHINGTON – The U.S. services sector shrank for a second month in May as the coronavirus pandemic triggered shutdowns and layoffs around the country.

Activity did rise from levels last month that had not been seen since the recession.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its service sector index stood at 45.4 last month, up slightly from an April reading of 41.8.

Any reading below 50 signals that the service sector, where the majority of Americans work, is in contraction. The April decline broke a string of more than 10 years of expansion in the services sector.

The continued contraction in service industries followed a similar pattern in the industrial sector. The ISM reported earlier this week that manufacturing activity remained in contraction territory in May, with a reading of 43.1, up slightly after registering 41.5 in April.