By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. business activity cooled in September, with gains at factories offset by a retreat at services industries, suggesting a loss of momentum in the economy as the third quarter draws to a close and COVID-19 lingers.
The economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession is losing speed as government financial help to businesses and the unemployed dries up. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers on Wednesday that Congress and the U.S. central bank needed to remain focused on supporting the recovery.
“We need to stay with it … the recovery will go faster if there is support coming both from Congress and the Fed,” Powell said.
Data firm IHS Markit said its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, slipped to a reading of 54.4 this month from 54.6 in August. A reading above 50 indicates growth in