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US services sector gains in February: ISM

Job seekers wait in line to enter a Hire Event job fair on November 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California
Job seekers wait in line to enter a Hire Event job fair on November 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The US services sector picked up pace slightly in February despite the impact of payroll tax hikes at the beginning of the year, the Institute for Su

The US services sector picked up pace slightly in February despite the impact of payroll tax hikes at the beginning of the year, the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday.

The ISM's non-manufacturing sector purchasing managers index rose to 56, up from January's 55.2. It was the highest level in a year, with the business activity sub-index gaining to 56.9 and the new orders reading surging 3.8 points to 58.2.

The pace of hiring was slightly slower and price rises picked up pace, the prices index rising 3.7 to 61.7, the ISM said.

Anything above 50 on the index indicates expansion of the sector.

"Thirteen non-manufacturing industries reported growth in February. The majority of respondents' comments reflect a growing optimism about the trend of the economy and overall business conditions," the ISM said.

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