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U.S. service sector growth slows slightly in June: ISM survey

A waiter serves green champagne to guests during a St. Patrick's Day reception hosted by President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 17, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The pace of growth in the U.S. services sector slowed slightly in June as business activity decelerated, even as new orders and employment growth sped up, according to an industry report released on Thursday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index ticked down to 56.0 last month from 56.3 in May, which was a nine-month high. The reading fell shy of economists' forecasts for 56.3, according to a Reuters survey.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

Non-manufacturing business activity slipped to 57.5 in June from 62.1 in May, but the new orders index rose to 61.2, the highest since January 2011, from 60.5 in May. Employment rose to 54.4, a five-month high, from 52.4.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)