As it did among manufacturers, non-manufacturing business activity picked up momentum in February.
The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) business activity index reached 60.1% last month, up 3.3 percentage points from January.
An index figure above 50% indicates the non-manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy generally is growing; a figure below 50% signals the sector is contracting.
New orders and employment increased among non-manufacturing companies in February, with the employment component of the overall business activity index rising 7.1 percentage points.
"Price increases are still a topic of concern for a number of [member companies]," reports Ralph G. Kauffman, chair of ISM's non-manufacturing business survey committee and coordinator of the Supply Chain Management Program at the University of Houston-Downtown. The price index part of the non-manufacturing business activity index fell 2.4 percentage points in February, "but remains in a historically high range for the ISM non-manufacturing business survey," relates Kauffman.