WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. service companies expanded at a slightly faster pace in January. New orders, sales and hiring showed strength in a sign that financial firms and information technology companies foresee stronger growth.
The Institute for Supply Management says its service-sector index rose to 54 from 53 in December. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
The gain points to continued economic growth for the service industry, despite some challenges posed by freezing temperatures and winter storms last month.
A measure of new orders rose 0.5 points to 50.9. The measure for hiring rose 0.8 points to 56.4.
The survey covers businesses that employ 90 percent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services firms.