U.S. services growth quickens in January: Markit

NEW YORK Wed Feb 5, 2014 10:00am EST

Waiter Sayed Islam (C) speaks with Kelley Ruland (R) and Brittany Parker in ''The Plaza'' hotel's ''Palm Court'' the first day that the hotel re-opened following extensive renovations in New York March 1, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Waiter Sayed Islam (C) speaks with Kelley Ruland (R) and Brittany Parker in ''The Plaza'' hotel's ''Palm Court'' the first day that the hotel re-opened following extensive renovations in New York March 1, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Growth in the U.S. services sector quickened to a four-month high in January and hiring remained robust, an industry report showed on Wednesday.

Financial data firm Markit said its services sector purchasing managers index rose to 56.7 from 55.7 in December. A reading above 50 signals expansion in economic activity.

Service sector employers added to their staffs at the start of the year though at a slightly slower pace than in December. The employment component dipped to 54.1 from 55.2.

But the pace of hiring "remains resilient as firms report the brightest business outlook for three years," said Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist.

Combined hiring in the service sector and manufacturing suggest overall U.S. payroll growth will gravitate back toward 200,000 for the month after dipping to just 74,000 in December, Williamson added.

The January non-farm payroll report is scheduled for release on February 7. A Reuters survey of economists shows an expectation for 185,000 jobs created in the month.

Last month's composite PMI, a weighted average of manufacturing and services indexes that was also reported by Markit on Wednesday, edged up to 56.2 from 56.1 in December.

Growth in the goods-producing sector lost some momentum last month as output slowed, though some economists attributed that partly to extremely cold winter weather in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast.

The employment component of the composite PMI slipped to 53.9 from 55.0 while growth in new orders, while still solid, slowed slightly.

(Reporting By Steven C. Johnson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Comments (3)
bertanderson wrote:
Unfortunately these are minimum wage jobs in retail and working at Starbucks for example. These jobs do not an economy make. Not only that, these few remaining jobs are slowing like at JC Penny

Feb 05, 2014 9:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
4825 wrote:
You will see it un-quicken with a rise in minimum wage rates.

Feb 05, 2014 10:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
Peddler wrote:
The face of the economy of the US has changed dramatically since 2009 and will continue to evolve but without the employment opportunities that built the middle class prior to 2009. The future will be centered around more and more low end, service oriented, part time jobs that will reduce the employer’s exposure, increase their profits, send the employees to the government for health care and subsidized income via direct assistance or massive tax breaks/incentives.

Health care will soon be totally government controlled and in the end, the US health care will be a fully socialist program. It is inevitable. As the propaganda program against the 1% intensifies, the irony is that the 1% is evolving to the point where the liberals make up the largest number of the 1%.

Our grandchildren will never know what life was like before 2009 because along with everything else that has changed, so will history when it is re-written to reflect a particular ideological outlook, nothing to do with facts any longer.

Feb 05, 2014 10:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
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