Companies in the U.S. service sector such as health care and retail grew at a slightly slower but still solid pace in March, according to survey of senior executives. The Institute for Supply Management said its nonmanufacturing index fell to 56.5% from 56.9% in February. Still, readings over 50% signal more businesses are expanding instead of contracting. The survey is compiled from a questionnaire of the executives who buy supplies for their companies and it tends to rise in fall in tandem with the broader economy. The new orders index rose 1.1 points to 57.8% while employment edged up 0.2 points to 56.6%, the highest level since last July.
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