US service companies grew at a slower pace in April

US service companies grew at a slower pace in April
FILE- In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, Zakiyyah Askia, a plumbing apprentice in a program run by the nonprofit Chicago Women in Trades, welds pipes at a high rise residence under construction in Chicago. On Friday, May 3, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, issues its index of non-manufacturing activity for April. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford, File)

U.S. service companies grew at a slower pace in April, as business activity generally showed a leveling off.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Friday that its service index fell to 55.5% last month, down from 56.1% in March. Any reading above 50 signals growth.

Companies surveyed for the index were mostly optimistic about overall business conditions but expressed continuing concern about finding qualified employees, the ISM said.

The service sector, which is where most Americans work, has been expanding for 111 straight months, according to the ISM index.