BEIJING, July 3 (Reuters) - Growth in China's services sector remained strong in June but edged down from a six-month high, with the purchasing manufacturing index (PMI) for the industry slipping to 55, government data showed on Thursday.
That compares with a reading of 55.5 in May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. A reading above 50 in PMI surveys indicates growth on a monthly basis, while an outcome below the threshold points to a contraction in activity.
More economic indicators are suggesting that the world's second-largest economy is steadying as a flurry of government stimulus measures start to kick in. The results in other similar surveys of Chinese factories earlier in the week were also upbeat.
A breakdown of Thursday's data showed new orders fell to 50.7 from May's 52.7, the biggest drop in at least a year. But companies remained confident despite the decline, with business expectations only dipping slightly to 60.4 from May's 60.7.
"We should especially note the evident rebound in services businesses related to manufacturing activities," Cai Jin, a vice president at the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing -- which compiles the official PMI -- said in a statement on the agency's official microblog Weibo account.
"New orders from commodity retailers showed a big rebound, indicating that the stabilising growth momentum in the factory sector is filtering into the services industry."
The services sector, which accounted for 45 percent of China's gross domestic product in 2012 and roughly half of all jobs in the country, is expected to post steady growth in coming years as the economy matures. (Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Kim Coghill)