The U.S. non-manufacturing sector in September expanded for the 33rd straight month and grew at a quicker pace than in August, a widely recognized U.S. private survey reported Wednesday.
The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI), which measures activity in the U.S. service sector, rose to 55.1 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from August, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in its monthly survey.
The NMI survey covers all sectors outside of manufacturing. A reading above 50 indicates expansion of the service sector.
The index showed that new orders, a signal of future business, rose last month to 57.7 from 53.7 in August, while the survey's employment component decreased by 2.7 percentage points to 51.1, said the ISM.
A total number of 12 industries reported growth last month, including retail trade and construction, while four other industries including mining and real estate reported contraction.
The NMI index is closely watched because the service sector absorbs about 90 percent of the U.S. workforce, and is a key indicator for the overall health of the economic recovery.
A separate survey released by the ISM on Monday showed the U.S. manufacturing sector resumed expansion in September after three consecutive months of contraction.