U.S. Service-Sector Expands on Accelerated Hiring -- IHS Markit

By Ali Stratton Features Dow Jones Newswires

The U.S. service sector in July experienced strong business activity expansion, as firms reported an accelerated pace of new orders received and hiring new workers, according to a report Thursday.

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IHS Markit Economics' U.S. services business activity index rose to 54.7 in July from 54.2 in June, and from its flash reading of 54.2. The reading indicated the sector grew, as readings above 50 indicate expansion and readings below 50 indicate contraction.

The report said new order growth was the strongest in two years, which resulted in a rate of job creation that was the strongest so far this year.

Although the overall level of confidence slipped from June's five-month high, IHS said the survey indicates "robust business confidence" among service providers, built on improvements in business activity and new business.

The purchasing managers' composite index, known as the Composite PMI, rose to 54.6 in July from 53.9 in June. That index uses surveys from both the services and manufacturing surveys.

"Hiring remains encouragingly buoyant, with the July PMI surveys indicating a payroll rise in the region of 200,000," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. "Firms retained a strong hiring appetite in response to widespread optimism."

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On Tuesday, the U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 53.3 in July, from its final reading of 52 in June.

Write to Ali Stratton at ali.stratton@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2017 11:24 ET (15:24 GMT)