Wednesday, March 4, 2009 U.S. Service Industries Contracted at Faster Pace

The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non- manufacturing businesses, which make up almost 90 percent of the economy, fell to 41.6 from 42.9 in January. Readings below 50 signal contraction.Companies from retailer J.Crew Group Inc. to financial- services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. have slashed payrolls and spending as consumers retrench, fueling more cutbacks and weakening confidence further. President Barack Obama has pledged to create jobs and help Americans keep their homes, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday said policy makers may need to expand aid to the banking system. Worldwide

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