Business World

Thursday 18 January 2018

Boost as US service-sector expansion accelerates

Sheets of five dollar notes are fed through a sorting machine
Sheets of five dollar notes are fed through a sorting machine

Shobhana Chandra

AMERICAN service industries expanded in April at the fastest pace in eight months, a sign the biggest part of the American economy will bolster growth this quarter.

The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) non-manufacturing index rose to 55.2, higher than projected, from the prior month's 53.1. Readings above 50 indicate expansion and below 50, contraction.

The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 54 in the gauge for services, which account for almost 90pc of the economy.

The gain, combined with the strongest pace of manufacturing in four months, indicates growth is rebounding after a weak first quarter.

Employers boosted payrolls in April by the most in two years and the jobless rate dropped to the lowest level since 2008.

"Things are getting better," said Robert Stein, deputy chief economist at First Trust Portfolios. "Among top-line numbers, we're seeing a re-acceleration of the economy."

An ISM report last week showed US manufacturing accelerated in April. The group's factory index climbed to 54.9, the strongest so far this year.

Irish Independent

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