Service sector gains accelerate

Feb. 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Business activity in U.S. service industries grew in January for the 26th consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management said Friday.

The pace of growth picked up with the headline Purchasing Managers Index climbing from 53 to 56.8.

The index uses 50 as a break-even point. Above 50 indicates growth. Below 50 indicates a contraction.

The critical new-orders index for non-manufacturing businesses jumped from 54.6 to 59.4. The employment index rose from 49.8 to 57.4, meaning December's shrinking job pool has turned to expansion.

The prices index also rose from 62 to 63.5.

In the month, 12 of 18 service industries tracked in the report showed growth, led by real estate, rental and leasing, information services, education, and transportation and warehousing.

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