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Survey: US service firms grow at faster pace in May on jump in new orders, though hiring slows

U.S. service firms grew at a faster pace in May, driven by a jump in new orders. But a measure of hiring showed companies added fewer jobs.

The Institute for Supply Management says its index of service-sector growth rose to 53.7 from 53.1 in April. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. That's below the 12-month average of 54.4

A measure of employment fell to 50.1, the lowest since last July. Service firms have been the main source of jobs gains in the past several months. Manufacturers have cut back sharply on hiring this year.

The survey measures growth at businesses that employ about 90 percent of the U.S. workforce, ranging from construction companies and health care firms to retail businesses and restaurants.