ECONOMY

US services firms grew at a faster pace in April, driven by more orders and uptick in hiring

In this Thursday, March 27, 2014 John Pittenger makes a pepperoni pizza at the Whole Foods Market in Woodmere Village, Ohio. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for April 2015 on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

In this Thursday, March 27, 2014 John Pittenger makes a pepperoni pizza at the Whole Foods Market in Woodmere Village, Ohio. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for April 2015 on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. service firms' growth accelerated in April, fueled by more orders, rising sales and an uptick in hiring.

The Institute for Supply Management says that it services index rose to 57.8 in April from 56.5 in March, the highest in five months. Any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

The healthy showing suggests that the economy's recent stumbles are only temporary. Hiring slowed in March and economic growth ground to a near-halt in the first quarter. But most economists expect growth will rebound.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Its survey of services firms covers businesses that employ 90 percent of the American workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services companies.