According to the latest report from ISM, economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew for the 71st consecutive month in December, despite a slight dip to 55.3% in the NMI.

“The NMI registered 55.3% in December, 0.6 percentage point lower than the November reading of 55.9%. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly slower rate,” said Anthony Nieves, chair of the ISM non-manufacturing business survey committee. “The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 58.7%, which is 0.5 percentage point higher than the November reading of 58.2%, reflecting growth for the 77th consecutive month at a slightly faster rate.”

Nieves also noted that the New Orders Index rose to 58.2% from the 57.5% recorded in November, while the Employment Index also rose by 0.7 percentage points, indicating a 22nd-straight month of growth.

While employment and new orders rose, the Prices Index decreased 0.6 percentage points from the November reading of 50.3% to 49.7%, indicating prices a decreased for the third time in the last four months.

According to the NMI, 11 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in December.

“Faster deliveries in December contributed to the overall slight slowing in the rate of growth according to the NMI composite index,” said Nieves All of the other component indexes increased in the month of December. The majority of respondents’ comments remain positive about business conditions and the overall economy.”