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Fri Feb 3, 2012, 11:41 AM

US Service Industry Growth Surges In January [View all]

(AP) WASHINGTON U.S. service companies grew at the fastest pace in 11 months in January as companies started hiring to keep up with rising demand.

The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its index of non-manufacturing activity jumped to 56.8 percent in January from 53 percent in December. The survey's employment index soared to its highest level since February 2006. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The trade group of purchasing managers surveys businesses including restaurants, hotels, retailers, financial services firms and construction companies.

The service sector has been growing for two straight years. But hiring had stagnated, with the employment index falling below 50 in two of the past four months. Companies overcame their reluctance to hire in January, pushing the employment index up to 57.4 percent from 49.8 percent.

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http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57371074/us-service-industry-growth-surges-in-january/

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