ECONOMY

US services firms expand at fastest pace since October 2015

U.S. services companies expanded in February at the fastest pace since October 2015.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group for purchasing managers, says its services index rose to 57.6 last month from 56.5 in January. Anything above 50 signals growth.

The services sector has now expanded for 86 straight months.

Production, new orders and hiring grew faster in February.

Sixteen services industries reported growth in February, led by utilities companies and mines. Only real estate and information services reported a contraction in business.

On Wednesday, the institute reported that American factories expanded in in February at the fastest space in more than two years.