[NEW YORK] The US services sector expanded in March at its fastest pace since September, an industry report showed on Thursday.
Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary, or "flash,"reading of its Purchasing Managers Index for the service sector rose to 58.6 in March from a final reading of 57.1 in February.
A reading over 50 signals expansion in economic activity.
Markit's reading of new business at service companies in March rose to 58.3 from 57.1 in February.
"The US economy is showing signs of regaining momentum after the slowdown seen at the turn of the year. The flash PMI surveys are registering faster growth of both service sector and factory activity at the end of the first quarter, as well as ongoing strong hiring," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit in a statement.
Markit earlier this week said its flash US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 55.3 in March, up from February's final reading of 55.1 and its highest since October.
The service index's employment component also rose in March to its highest since June.
Markit's seasonally adjusted flash US Composite PMI index rose to 58.5 in March, also its best monthly reading since September, from 57.2 in February.