Economy gets off to weak start in 2023, S&P finds

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The numbers: U.S. businesses contracted again in January as demand for goods and services fell for the fourth month in a row, S&P surveys showed, though there were some signs of modest improvement.

The S&P Global “flash” U.S. services sector index rose to a three-month high of 46.6 from 44.7 in December. The service side of the economy employs most Americans.

The S&P Global U.S. manufacturing sector index, meanwhile, edged up to 46.7 from 31-month low of 46.2 at the end of last year.

Any number below 50 suggests a contracting economy, however.

The S&P surveys are among the first indicators in each month to assess the health of the economy.

Big picture: The U.S. economy was stung in 2022 by the highest inflation in 40 years. Now it’s getting slammed by rising interest rates as the Federal Reserve aims to bring inflation back down to pre-pandemic levels.

Many economists believe the U.S could sink into recession this year.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 fell in Tuesday trades.

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