U.S. Service-Sector Shows Strongest Expansion Since January -- IHS Markit

By Ali StrattonFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The U.S. service sector in June experienced its strongest expansion in business activity since January, marking a third consecutive month of accelerated growth, according to a report Thursday.

IHS Markit Economics' U.S. services business activity index rose to 54.2 in June from 53.6 in May, and from its flash reading of 53. The reading indicated the sector grew, as readings above 50 indicate expansion and readings below 50 indicate contraction.

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The report also said that optimism among U.S. service-sector firms accelerated to its second strongest level since May 2015. Job creation expanded at the quickest pace since February, while average prices charged by U.S. service providers rose for the 16th consecutive month.

The purchasing managers' composite index, known as the Composite PMI, rose to 53.9 in June from 53.6 in May. That index uses surveys from both the services and manufacturing surveys.

"The services data follow news from the sister manufacturing survey showing steady but unspectacular growth in U.S. factories," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

On Monday, the U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index declined fractionally to 52 in June, from its final reading of 52.7 in May.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 06, 2017 10:40 ET (14:40 GMT)