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Services in U.S. Expand at the Fastest Pace in 10 Months

Bloomberg (01/04/13) Alex Kowalski

In the final month of 2012, the U.S. economy received a significant boost from service industries, with retailers reporting a strong holiday shopping season and the housing market showing signs of improvement. Of the industries included in the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index, which rose to 56.1 in December from 54.7 in November, 13 experienced growth last month; only five experienced contraction. Additionally, ISM’s employment gauge climbed from 50.3 to 56.3 in December. A jump in consumer spending and housing activity propelled the economy at the end of last year, enabling the services industry to grow while concerns over higher taxes and government budget cuts put a damper on the factory sector.