Washington:  The US service sector continued to expand in May, rising to the highest level since August 2013, a survey showed.

The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI), which measures activity in the US service sector, increased to 56.3 percent in May from 55. 2 percent in April, Xinhua quoted the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) as saying in its monthly survey Wednesday.

The NMI survey covers all sectors outside of manufacturing. A reading above 50 percent indicates expansion of the service sector.

The index showed that new orders, a signal of future business, increased by 2.3 percentage points to 60.5 percent in May, while the survey’s employment component rose by 1.1 percentage points to 52.4 percent, said the ISM.

The NMI index is closely watched because the service sector absorbs about 90 percent of the US workforce, and is a key indicator for the overall health of the economic recovery.

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