A reading above 50 indicates expansion on the previous month, while one below that indicates contraction. The nonmanufacturing PMI covers services including retail, aviation and software as well as the real-estate and construction sectors.
The subindex for services decreased to 52.8 from 53.8 and the subindex for construction rose to 61.3 from 59.9, the federation said in a statement.
The new orders subindex for the entire nonmanufacturing sector fell to 50.8 from 51.4.
The data are based on replies to monthly questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in 1,200 companies in 27 nonmanufacturing sectors.
The figures were issued after the federation announced Tuesday its official manufacturing PMI, which rose to 50.3 in March from 50.2 in February.
The federation issues the data along with the National Bureau of Statistics.
Corrections and Amplifications
This item was corrected at 01:44 GMT. The original misstated the day of the week in the first paragraph. The statement was released Thursday and not Monday.
"China March Official Nonmanufacturing PMI 54.5 Vs 55.0 in Feb," at 0130 GMT, misstated the day of the week in the first paragraph. The statement was released Thursday and not Monday.