US service firms expand at faster pace in October despite shutdown, as sales, hiring rise.

Activity at U.S. service firms accelerated in October despite the partial government shutdown, boosted by a jump in sales and more hiring.

The Institute of Supply Management says its service-sector index rose to 55.4 in October, up from 54.4 in September. The index hit an eight-year high of 58.6 in August. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

A measure of sales fell jumped 4.6 points to 59.7. And a gauge of hiring rose 3.5 points to 56.2.

The report measures growth in service industries, which cover 90 percent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services.