The services sector in the US unexpectedly improved in August, sporting a slight gain in growth, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index. The NMI came in at 50.6%, up from 49.5% in July. Economists had forecast a number at or around 49.3%. Readings above 50% indicate growth, and anything below, contraction.

The new-orders index rose to 49.7% from 47.9%, and the production index increased to 51.6% from 49.6%. Meanwhile, the employment index declined to 45.4% from 47.1%.

Report Details

10 industries reported growth in August: real estate, rental and leasing; mining; health care and social assistance; educational services; utilities; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; construction; professional, scientific and technical services; other services; and information.

Contraction was reported in eight industry segments: transportation and warehousing; finance and insurance; accommodation and food services; wholesale trade; arts, entertainment and recreation; management of companies and support services; retail trade; and public administration.