NEW YORK Feb 5 The vast U.S. services sector
rebounded in January after two months of slower growth and firms
added workers at the fastest clip in more than three years,
according to an industry report released on Wednesday.
The Institute for Supply Management said its services index
rose to 54 last month from 53 in December. The reading narrowly
beat expectations of 53.7, according to a Reuters survey of
January marked the 49th straight month the index was above
50, the level that separates expansion from contraction, though
the pace of growth has slowed from a more than seven-year high
of 57.9 hit in August.
The gauge of business activity rose to 56.3 after having
slipped to 54.3 in December, a three-month low. The December
reading was initially 55.2 but was subsequently revised.
New orders edged up to 50.9 from an upwardly-revised reading
of 50.4 in December. The initial read showed new orders in
December had fallen below 50 into contraction territory for the
first time since mid-2009.
Employment rose to 56.4, the highest level since November of
2010. It stood at 55.6 in December, revised from an initial
reading of 55.8.
(Reporting By Steven C. Johnson; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)