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U.S. service sector shows strength

March 5, 2012 at 1:02 PM

TEMPE, Ariz., March 5 (UPI) -- Business activity in U.S. service industries grew in January for the 26th consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management said Monday.

The pace of growth picked up with the headline Purchasing Managers Index climbing from 56.8 to 57.3.

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 59.4 to 62.6. The employment index, however, dropped from 57.4 to 55.7.

The prices index also rose from 63.5 to 68.5.

In the month, 14 of 18 service industries tracked in the report showed growth, led by real estate, rental and leasing, information services, education, and wholesale trade.

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