U.S. Service Sector Hits Highest Level in Nearly a Year

A gauge of U.S. service-sector activity rose to the highest level in nearly a year in September, a sign of steady growth for a key segment of the economy.

The Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday said its nonmanufacturing index jumped to 57.1 in September from 51.4 in August. That was the highest level since October 2015.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a September reading of 53.0. A reading above 50 signals expansion while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The service sector -- ranging from restaurants to real estate -- covers the bulk of economic activity in the U.S. Consumer spending on services makes up about two-thirds of all personal expenditures.

Write to Jeffrey Sparshott at jeffrey.sparshott@wsj.com