ECONOMY

US services firms grow faster in April

U.S. services companies expanded at a faster pace in April, which is good news for the overall American economy.

The Institute for Supply Management says its services index rose last month to 57.5 from 55.2 in March. Anything above 50 signals the services sector is growing — something it's done for 88 straight months.

Sixteen services industries reported growth last month, led by wholesalers and utilities. Only one industry grouping — covering agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting — contracted in April.

Production, new orders, prices and export orders all grew faster last month. Hiring grew but at a slower pace than it did in March.

Private services companies account for more than 70 percent of American jobs.