January 18th, 2021

US services sector grows for seventh straight month


By Matt Ott, The Associated Press on January 7, 2021.

FILE - A waiter wears a mask and face covering at a restaurant with outdoor seating Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, registered its sixth consecutive month of expansion in November. The Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday that its index of services activity declined slightly to a reading of 55.9 last month, from a reading of 56.6 in October. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, grew for the seventh straight month in December even as coronavirus cases surged through the holidays.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday that its index of services activity slowed slightly to a reading of 57.2 last month, from a reading of 55.9 in November. Readings above 50 represent expansion in services industries such as restaurants and bars, retail stores and delivery companies.

Respondents to the December ISM survey continued to express anxiety about the current business climate.

Thursday’s report showed that business activity and new orders both grew more quickly but the index measuring employment fell into contraction.

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