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Service Sector Economic Activity Expands for September

For the first time in 13 months, economic activity in the U.S. service industries showed expansion in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). ISM's non-manufacturing index for September was 50.9, up from 48.4 in August; a reading above 50 indicates growth. ISM's new orders index grew to 54.2 for September, up from 49.9 in August and the first growth reading since last year. Five industries reported growth for the month: utilities; healthcare and social assistance; retail trade; construction; and wholesale trade. Thirteen industries reported contraction: arts, entertainment, and recreation; agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting; accommodation and food services; mining; public administration; other services; real estate, rental and leasing; professional, scientific, and technical services; information; management of companies and support services; finance and insurance; educational services; and transportation and warehousing. The ISM's employment index for September was 44.3, up from 43.5 in August but still indicating contraction. The service sector industries make up more than 80 percent of U.S. economic activity. The indices for October will be released on November 4.

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