The service sector grew for the third consecutive month in March, according to a report, the latest indicator that the economic recovery is broadening to more businesses and industries.A gauge of pending home sales also ticked up.The Institute for Supply Management, a group of corporate purchasing managers, on Monday said its gauge of economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew to 55.4 in March from 53 a month earlier. The index portrayed a broad-based recovery, with 14 of the 18 industries showing expansion. Two were flat and two contracted.Any reading by the ISM Index over 50 shows growth and under that number indicates shrinkage. Industries that showed growth in March included information, retail trade and finance. The only two industries to contract were real estate and educational services. The service sector accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity and most of employment, but until recently has lagged behind manufacturing in the recovery."It looks like the recovery is definitely here in the service sector," said Adam York, an economist with Wells Fargo Securities.
By Conor Dougherty, April 6, 2010 WSJ