Associated Press (04/04/12) Christopher Rugaber
U.S. service companies stepped up hiring in March and continued
to expand at a solid pace. The Institute for Supply Management
reported on April 4 that its index of nonmanufacturing activity
dropped to 56 in March, down from February’s 57.3, which was
a 12-month high. Economists say the slight decline is not
troubling because the reading is still at a healthy level that
points to growth.
“The (ISM) survey still suggests that domestic demand is
contributing more to the recovery,” says Paul Dales, an
economist at Capital Economics. “This survey is still
consistent with some decent rates of economic growth.”
Sixteen of the 18 industries tracked by the survey reported
growth. Greater spending “reflects the increased confidence
level of businesses and consumers,” says Anthony Nieves,
chairman of the ISM’s services committee.