The U.S. services sector saw faster-paced growth in April than it has for several months, due to a sharp increase in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management’s services sector index climbed from 53.1 in March to 55.2 in April, besting analysts’ forecasts that the index would reach 54.1. The index has surpassed 50 for 52 consecutive months; a reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Meanwhile, the business activity index rose from 53.4 in March to 60.9 in April, and the new orders index rose from 53.4 to 58.2. The employment index fell from 53.6 to 51.3, but that reading is at odds with U.S. Department of Labor data indicating service-sector hiring expanded in April by the most it has in 11 months.