The service industry has seen 38 consecutive months of growth in February of 2013 and its largest gains since February 2012.
Released on March 6th, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) non-manufacturing index increased, going from 55.2 in January 2012 percent to 56 last month. The non-manufacturing index covers 90 percent of the workforce, including industries such as health care, construction, financial services and retail. A reading above 50 percent indicates that an economy is generally growing.
The index also shows growth in business activity, up to 56.9 in February from 56.4 the previous month.
According to Bloomberg, survey committee chairman Anthony Nieves commented, "Even though the fiscal picture is still unclear at this point in time, there seems to be, from what's driven by these various industries that make up this sector, a bit more activity."
The ISM index also seems to indicate an increase in employment in February, up .3 percent from January of 2013. Public administration, educational services and wholesale trade saw new hires. Agriculture, mining and utilities saw decreased hiring.
According to the report, index respondents commented that "positions are being filled, but slowly."
This report comes in advance of the government's employment numbers, which are due out March 8.
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