ISM: Services Sector Grew in January on New Orders, Higher Employment

The Institute for Supply Management’s services index rose in January to its highest level in nearly a year as new orders and employment jumped.

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The ISM services index, which measures the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector, rose to 56.8 in January from a revised 53.0 in December. It was the highest level since February 2011.

The new orders index rose from 54.6 to 59.4 in the month, though gauge of prices paid also rose, from 62.0 to 63.5.

The employment index rose to the highest level in six years, from 49.8 in December to 57.4 in January.

This morning’s Labor Department report — which showed the economy to have added 243,000 jobs last month, pushing the national unemployment rate to a three-year low — lends credence to the ISM data.

The services sector accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the United States.

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