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Service Industries Sustain Gain as U.S. Hiring Climbs

Service industries in the U.S. expanded in January at about the same pace as the prior month, driving demand for more workers and helping cushion the economy in the face of the Washington budget battle.

The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index slipped to 55.2 from a 10-month high of 55.7 in December, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings above 50 signal expansion. The group’s employment gauge was the strongest in seven years.