Ahead of the Bell: Us services index

Private survey: Growth of US services sector surged in Oct.

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2015 file photo, Bryan White breads chicken breast prior to frying it in the kitchen of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant, in New York. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for October on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Institute for Supply Management reports on October growth at U.S. service firms at 10 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.

SLOWER GROWTH: Economists believe that the ISM index fell to 56.5 in October from 56.9 in September, according to a survey by FactSet.

Any reading over 50 shows that services firms are expanding. But October is expected to be the third consecutive decline after the index achieved a 10-year high in July of 60.3.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Its services survey covers businesses that employ 90 percent of workers, including retail, construction, health care and financial services companies.

CAN ECONOMY KEEP UP ITS PACE?: The global slowdown appears to be seeping into the U.S. economy. The pace of hiring has fallen, the stock market has become choppy, businesses are preparing for weaker consumer demand and there are mixed signals from the housing market. China's efforts to evolve into a consumer-driven economy has curbed its growth and Europe is just clawing its way back to full health more than seven years after the global financial meltdown.

Still, many economists expect the U.S. economy to strengthen coming into the end of the year.

Employers added just 142,000 jobs in September and 136,000 in August, steep drop-offs from monthly job gains that were averaging more than 200,000 for much of the year. Yet analysts expect a rebound in the October employment report out Friday with the addition of 185,000 jobs.

Similarly, the economy grew at an annualized pace of only 1.5 percent during the July-September quarter, down from 3.9 percent in the prior quarter.

Economists are projecting that gross domestic product growth will average 2.5 percent in the final three months of 2015, saying that businesses will stop cutting back on their inventories in response to consumer demand.

Home sales accelerated in the first half of the year, yet there are signs of a cooling market as the number of signed contracts and sales of new homes dropped in September.

And the stronger dollar has hamstrung the exports of U.S. goods abroad and cheaper oil prices — caused by weaker international demand — have led energy firms to halt drilling activity. These setbacks have led the ISM's manufacturing index to fall to 50.1 last month, meaning that factory activity is barely improving.