Associated Press (06/05/12) Martin Crutsinger
U.S. service companies grew at a slightly faster pace in May, marking the 29th straight month of expansion. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of nonmanufacturing activity edged up to 53.7 last month from an April reading of 53.5. The May reading was slightly below the long-run average for the index of 53.9. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Economists said the increase in the new orders component of the index is a good sign that demand will be solid in coming months. They expressed concern, however, that the employment component, while remaining in expansion territory, slipped to the lowest reading since November.