Some good economic news: U.S. services sector activity picked up in January, with industries reporting increases in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management said yesterday its non-manufacturing activity index increased to a reading of 55.5 last month, the highest level since August. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
The report came on the heels of a survey from the ISM on Monday showing manufacturing rebounded in January after contracting for five straight months. Manufacturing now accounts for about 11 percent of the economy.
One down number: The survey’s index for services industry employment slipped to a reading of 53.1 last month, down from 54.8 in December. This is in line with slowing job growth, both as workers become more scarce and demand for labor cools.