Despite the drop, an index of more than 50 indicates growth in the industries that make up almost 90 percent of the economy.
Anthony Nieves, chairman of ISM's non-manufacturing survey, says the latest index shows a positive forecast: "This indicates continued growth at a slightly slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector," Nieves said in a press release. He also noted that the latest index shows the non-manufacturing sector grew for the 48th consecutive month.
ISM tracked 16 non-manufacturing industries. Eight of them reported growth in December, including retail; finance and insurance; and health care and social assistance. On the flip side, eight industries reported contraction during the month, including mining; arts, entertainment and recreation; and food services.
Manufacturing industries experienced greater expansion in Dceember, according to ISM. The group's manufacturing index reach 57 percent for the month, just a 0.3 percent drop from November. The index is based on new orders and other data from a survey of purchasing managers across 18 manufacturing industries.
WILL YAKOWICZ is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. @WillYakowicz