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NEW YORK May 5 Growth in the U.S. services
sector accelerated in April, rising at the fastest pace in eight
months as new orders jumped and overall activity quickened by
the most since early 2008, an industry report showed on Monday.
The Institute for Supply Management said its services sector
index rose to 55.2 in April from 53.1 in March, topping
expectations for a read of 54.1. The data provides further
evidence that economic activity is regaining momentum after
lagging through much of the winter, a lull largely blamed on
The April read marked the 52nd straight month the index was
above 50, the level that separates expansion from contraction,
and was the latest sign the impact of the harsh winter was
Moreover, the April pace was the highest since August's
reading of 57.9, which had been a seven-year high.
The gauge of business activity surged to 60.9 from 53.4 in
March and was well above analysts' forecasts of 54.4. The
7.5-point jump was that measure's largest monthly increase since
February 2008 when it rose 10.3 points.
The new orders index rose to 58.2, up 4.8 points from 53.4
the month before. That marked the largest monthly increase since
March 2010, when it jumped 7.5 points.
Both the new orders and business activity indexes were their
highest overall since August.
The employment index dipped to 51.3 from 53.6 in March,
although that conflicts with a strong reading on private-sector
services employment reported by the U.S. Labor Department on
Friday. The government data showed service-sector hiring
expanded last month by the most in 11 months, with 220,000
private-sector services jobs added.
(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)