WASHINGTON – U.S. service companies expanded at a faster pace last month, pushed up by slightly better sales and a pickup in new orders.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says that its services index rose to 57.4 in June, from 56.9 in May. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The report covers roughly 90 percent of the economy, from retail and hotels to accounting, government and construction.
The economy appears to be picking up a bit of steam after a sluggish first quarter, when growth was just 1.4 percent at an annual rate. Economists forecast the economy grew at roughly a 2.5 percent pace in the April-June quarter.
A measure of hiring slipped 2 points to 55.8, though that suggests job gains were still solid.
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