U.S. Service-Sector Activity Accelerated in April

By Sarah Chaney and Jeffrey SparshottFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Economic activity across the U.S. service sector accelerated in April, a sign of solid momentum heading into the second quarter of the year.

The Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday said its index of nonmanufacturing activity -- tracking industries including health care, finance, agriculture and construction -- rose to 57.5 in April from 55.2 in March.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an April reading of 55.6. A number above 50 indicates expansion.

The broader economy, however, has recently sent mixed messages. The labor market slowed in March, and gross domestic product, a measure of economic output, stumbled in the first quarter on tepid consumer spending.

A separate ISM gauge that tracks activity in the much-smaller manufacturing sector pulled back in April, falling to 54.8 from 57.2 the month prior.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Jeffrey Sparshott at jeffrey.sparshott@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2017 10:33 ET (14:33 GMT)