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February Service Sector Highest Level in a Year: ISM Survey

Reuters (03/05/12)

Companies in the U.S. service sector, which employs most of the nation’s work force, expanded at a faster pace in February, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The research firm’s nonmanufacturing index rose to 57.3% from 56.8% in January. The reading topped economists’ forecasts of 56.1%, according to a Reuters survey. New orders climbed to 61.2% from 59.4%. Yet the employment index slipped to 55.7% from 57.4% and the price index, which measures inflation, jumped to 68.4% from 63.5% in the prior month. Any reading over 50% indicates expansion instead of contraction.