Service-Sector Expansion Heats Up in August

The pace of growth in the massive U.S. services sector rose in August on the back of a rebound in employment and exports, though a measure of new orders declined, according to an industry report.

The Institute for Supply Management said on Thursday its services index jumped to 53.7 last month from 52.6 in July. That beat economists' forecasts for a 52.5 reading.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

ISM's gauge of employment rose to its highest reading since April, climbing to 53.8 from a July reading of 49.3, which was the lowest level in nearly a year.

ISM's measure of exports rose to 52, from 51 in the previous month. However, forward-looking new orders dipped in August to 53.7 from 54.3 in July.