ISM: Service sector grows in September

A private trade group says its measure of the U.S. service sector grew in September for the first time in 13 months.

The Institute for Supply Management says its service index hit 50.9 last month, up from 48.4 in August. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a reading of 50, the dividing line between growth and contraction.

The index, which tracks more than 80 percent of the country’s economic activity, including hospitals, retailers, financial services companies and truckers, hasn’t grown since August 2008.

The new orders index, an indicator of future activity, jumped to 54.2 in September, the first growth reading in a year.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.