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US service firms grew slightly faster in July

Washington (AP) — U.S. service companies, which employ 90 percent of Americans, grew at a slightly faster pace in July.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of nonmanufacturing activity picked up slightly last month with a reading of 52.6. That was a tiny improvement from June’s reading of 52.1, which had been the lowest since January 2010.

Still, any reading more than 50 indicates expansion. The service sector has now grown for 31 consecutive months.

In July, part of the strength came from a rise in the index component which tracks new orders.

Service companies include retail, construction, financial services, health care and hotels, among other industries.

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