Service industries expanded in December at the slowest pace in six months, indicating the biggest part of the U.S. economy cooled as the year drew to a close.

The Institute for Supply Management™s non-manufacturing index fell to 56.2 from a November reading of 59.3 that was the second-strongest since 2005, the Tempe, Arizona-based group™s report showed today. The average for all of 2014 was the highest in nine years. The median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a December figure of 58.

Gains in consumer spending will probably underpin the service industries that make up almost 90 percent of the economy as global markets struggle to gain momentum. Increased hiring and the cheapest gasoline since 2009 are helping spur sales from auto dealers to apparel retailers.

The group™s non-manufacturing survey covers an array of industries including utilities, retailing, and health care, as well as construction and agriculture.

Source: Bloomberg