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US service sector growth at 3-month high: ISM

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A gauge of growth in the US services sector rose more than expected in November even as its employment component dipped, according to an industry report released on Wednesday.

[NEW YORK] A gauge of growth in the US services sector rose more than expected in November even as its employment component dipped, according to an industry report released on Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 59.3 last month, just below the post-recession high of 59.6 hit in August, from 57.1 in October. The November figure came above economists' forecasts for a reading of 57.5, according to a Reuters poll.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in economic activity.

Two out of the ten components of the survey, employment and imports, fell from October, but all were above the 50 level.

The business activity component jumped to 64.4 from 60 in October, the new orders index ticked up to 61.4 from 59.1, and the prices paid index rose to 54.4 last month from 52.1 in October.

On Friday, the US Labour Department will report employment levels for November. The US economy is expected to have added 230,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters poll.

REUTERS