Service industries unexpectedly expanded at a faster pace in February, highlighting the resilience of the U.S. economy as companies navigated a work slowdown at West Coast ports and inclement winter weather.
The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index increased to 56.9, boosted by a pickup in employment, from the prior month’s 56.7, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said Wednesday. Another report showed U.S. companies added more than 200,000 workers to payrolls last month after a January gain that was larger than initially estimated.
Progress in the labor market helped drive gains at service providers including restaurants and retailers even as a contract dispute at West Coast ports hampered timely delivery of merchandise. Growth in the industries that account for almost 90 percent of the world’s largest economy are supporting the expansion as factories face cutbacks from customers overseas and in the U.S. energy patch.
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