Service Firm Growth Accelerates

WASHINGTON (December 5, 2012)--U.S. service companies grew at a slightly faster pace in November because sales and new orders rose, a good sign for the economy, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday.

The institute said its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 54.7 from 54.2 in October.

Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

That's above the 12-month average of 54.4.

The report measures growth in a broad range of businesses from retail and construction companies to health care and financial services firms.

The industries covered employ about 90 percent of the work force.

A measure of employment fell sharply but still showed companies added workers last month.

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