U.S. Non-Mfg Index Surpasses Expectations

The rate of growth in the U.S. economy's service sector perked last month after its pace eroded in the prior two months.

The Institute of Supply Management said its index of non-manufacturing activity hit 59.9 in January, well above the 56.5 expected by a survey of economists. Non-manufacturing economic activity had slipped to 55.9 in December.

While the index of 17 non-manufacturing industries, such as real estate and food services, showed slowing growth in the past two months, it also shows service sector has still seen mostly unbroken expansion for eight consecutive years.

In October, the ISM non-manufacturing survey recorded a 60.1 reading — the highest level since its debut in 2008.

A reading above 50 for the index indicates expansion in the service sector, and a reading below 50 signals contraction.