Service-Sector Activity Remained Solid in December

Economic Indicators Dow Jones Newswires

(Reuters)

Growth in economic activity across the sprawling U.S. service sector was steady and solid in December, a sign of momentum for the broader economy headed into the new year. 

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The Institute for Supply Management on Thursday said its index of nonmanufacturing activity was 57.2 in December, unchanged from its November level. A reading over 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction. 

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a December reading of 56.5. 

The services-providing side of the U.S. economy has continued to post solid growth in recent years despite choppiness in the manufacturing sector, which had been pressured by a strong dollar and the energy sector's slump. The headline ISM services index has remained above 50 continuously for nearly seven years; the last contractionary reading was in January 2010. 

Write to Ben Leubsdorf at ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com