U.S. service sector growing, but jobs scarce
NEW YORK — Growth in the U.S. service sector accelerated in February to its fastest pace in more than two years, but jobs remained hard to find.
The Institute for Supply Management said today its index measuring service industries rose to 53 in February from 50.5 in January.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a smaller increase to 51.
Any level above 50 signals growth. The 53 reading is the highest since January 2008, when ISM revised how it measured the service sector.
The service-sector gauge is closely watched because service jobs comprise more than 80 percent of non-farm U.S. employment in areas such as health care, retailing and financial services.
Business activity and new orders both grew faster in February, ISM said, despite severe winter weather.
Meanwhile, its measure of employment improved to 48.6, the highest level since April. That’s still the 26th consecutive month of shrinking jobs, but it is approaching the level where companies could begin to hire again.
“It looks like we’re gaining traction across the board,” said Anthony Nieves, chair of ISM’s service-sector survey.
Of the 18 industries ISM surveys, nine reported growth in February, led by information, arts and entertainment and transportation and warehousing. Eight industries shrank, led by educational services, health care, and management and support services. One group, agriculture, held steady.
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
FOLLOW THE MBJ ON TWITTERMy Tweets
Top Posts & Pages
- Outside group files arguments supporting McDaniel
- Court rules board can discipline West Virginia radiologist
- DAVID DALLAS: Mississippi's in'adequate' public schools
- MDEQ fines metalworking firm over hazardous waste
- Payday lender, fired executive exchanging blame for lender’s regulatory woes
- C Spire now offering new Blast Motion technology for athletes
- Grain buyer’s bankruptcy could take steep toll on Delta farmers
- Mississippi no longer has highest unemployment rate in nation
- Mad Genius, Eyevox owner acquires Mississippi Film Studios