Expansion in China's services industry slowed slightly in April, with employment growth slipping to a seven-month low, a private survey showed on Wednesday, adding to an increasingly cloudy outlook for the world's second-largest economy.
The Markit/HSBC services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.4 in April from March's 51.9, but holding above the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.
The survey found that input prices index eased to their weakest in 10 months, and while the new and outstanding business sub-indexes remained stable, the sub-index of business expectations fell to a seven-month low.
The data showed "that the service sector is still a relatively resilient part of the economy, but it is not expanding at a fast enough pace to offset the manufacturing slowdown," said Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC.
"We think that the economy will continue on a modest path of expansion over the next few months."