New data from IHS Markit today showed the first contraction in private sector business activity since Oct 2013, driven largely by a slowdown in services.  Services have been underpinning job growth during this recovery so any slowdown would be concerning. And there have been other cracks showing: #JOLTS this month reported a decline of almost 1 million job openings YoY for services alone in Dec 2019.  The JOLTS data is from *before* the coronavirus outbreak (which is likely to be an additional drag), indicating that this slowdown can’t just be chalked up to the outbreak.   And indeed, while IHS respondents reported concerns about the coronavirus, they also cited general economic & political uncertainty as drivers of reduced activity.

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