US service companies saw activity slow in November

MARTIN CRUTSINGER
In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo cargo cranes are used to take containers off of a Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation boat at the Port of Tacoma in Tacoma, Wash. President Donald Trump says he “will make a decision very soon’’ about whether to impose tariffs on imported cars and auto parts. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Growth in the U.S. service sector slowed in November with service companies complaining about higher tariffs from various trade battles and the inability to find enough qualified workers.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Wednesday that its service index slowed to a reading of 53.9% last month, down from an October level of 54.7% Any reading above 50 signals growth.

Businesses responding to the ISM survey expressed the hope that various trade wars would soon be resolved. They also said that they continued to be hampered in filing jobs by a shortage of workers, reflecting the fact that unemployment is near a half-century low.