U.S. Service Sector Surged in November

Economic Indicators Dow Jones Newswires

(Reuters)

Activity in U.S. service industries expanded rapidly in November, the latest sign the economy is ending the year on solid footing after a weak first half. 

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The Institute for Supply Management said Monday its index of nonmanufacturing activity rose to 57.2 in November from an unrevised 54.8 in October. A reading above 50 indicates sector expansion. 

Last month's reading marked the highest level of activity since October 2015. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a reading of 55.5. 

The service sector -- a broad range of industries such restaurants, accounting, barbers, real estate -- represents most of the economy in the U.S. The sector struggled earlier in the year but has rebounded in recent months as consumers, benefiting from higher earnings and moderate inflation, spend steadily. 

Write to Josh Mitchell at joshua.mitchell@wsj.com