US services sector posts strong growth
The massive US services sector registered stronger than expected growth in March, amid signs of a continued economic recovery, a private survey showed on Monday.
Buoyed by robust increase in orders at home and abroad, the Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index posted its third consecutive month of growth.
The so-called purchasing managers index registered 55.4 percent, surging past the consensus forecast of 54 percent.
Any PMI number above 50 percent indicates growth in the sector that accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity.
According to analyst Aaron Smith of Moody's Economy.com, the sector, which has lagged behind other parts of the economy, may be now be catching up.
"The increase in March suggests that growth is broadening from the goods sector," he said.
The services index now stands at its highest level in nearly three years.
New orders surged by 7.3 points to 62.3 percent, pointing to a strong increase in demand.
But the positive trend was weighed down by a continued contraction of employment.