A pair of surveys of American businesses fell to seven-month lows in April, suggesting a setback for the U.S. economy at the start of the second quarter.
IHS Markit said flash readings for both the manufacturing and service side of the U.S. economy dipped. The Markit flash U.S. manufacturing index slipped to 52.8 from 53.3 in the prior month. The services gauge moved down slightly, to 52.5 from 52.8.
Still, any reading above 50 indicates more respondents believe business conditions are getting better instead of worse.
A variety of tools to measure the U.S. economy have given mixed signals recently. Retail sales fell and hiring slowed sharply in March, for example, but layoffs remained near a 45-year low, the number of open jobs rose and sales of previously owned homes touched a 10-year high.
Although companies are excited about a pro-business Trump White House and consumer confidence recently hit the highest level in more than a decade, it hasn’t translated into stronger spending by households or the private sector.
The failure of a Republican effort to replace Obamacare and slow going on tax reform has also dimmed enthusiasm among investors.
The “data suggest the U.S. economy lost further momentum at the start of the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
The most worrisome sign was a slowdown in hiring that appears to have extended from March into April. If the Markit surveys are any indication, the U.S. could report another weak month of job creation for April, Williamson suggested.
The more subdued pace of business may just be another blip in an eight-year-old expansion that continues to chug along steadily if not spectacularly.
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“With business optimism about the year ahead also brightening, there’s good reason to believe that growth could revive again in coming months,” Williamson said.