US services sector picks up again in April
Washington (AFP) – Growth in the massive US services sector gained speed in April reversing the slowdown seen in March, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday.
The ISM non-manufacturing index added 2.3 percentage points, reaching 57.5 percent, and has seen growth for 88 straight months.
The index captures activity among all segments of the services sector, the largest component of the US economy. A reading of more than 50 percent indicates expansion.
Of the industries tracked in the survey for April, only agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting saw a decline, and educational services was flat, while the other 16 reported growth, ISM said.
“Our respondents are telling us business activity has picked up,” Anthony Nieves, the survey committee chair, told reporters in a conference call.
Nieves noted a solid three-point gain in services exports, to 65.5 percent, an area in which the United States enjoys a large trade surplus.
“What our respondents are telling us is that there is more work outside of the US being conducted,” he said.
The Business Activity Index rose 3.5 points to 62.4 percent while new orders rose by an even faster 4.3 percentage points to 63.2 percent.
The employment index, however, slipped 0.2 points to 51.4 percent, which still reflected growth.
Nieves said despite the dip seen in March, the services sector index appeared to be continuing its upward trend.
“We’ll see how sustainable this high level of growth is.”