New York, NY, United States (4E) – The non-manufacturing sector in the U.S. surprisingly continued to expand in August, according to a report by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released Thursday.
The ISM non-manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 59.6 in August from the prior month’s 58.7. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the service sector.
Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the August PMI to drop to 57.5.
With the unexpected rise, the ISM said the composite index climbed to its highest level since the index started in January 2008.
Thursday’s data also showed a strong improvement in business activity, as the corresponding index rose to 65.0 in August from 62.4 in the previous month.
The gauge for new orders fell to 63.8 last month from 64.9 in July which was the highest level since August 2005. The index for employment rose to 57.1, the highest level since February 2006, from July’s 56.0.