US services firms saw slight June acceleration; increase in business activity and new orders

U.S. service firms grew at a slightly faster pace in June, as business activity and new orders increased.

The Institute for Supply Management says that its services index edged up to 56 in June from 55.7 in May. Any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

Steady hiring over the past year has fueled a consumer spending rebound from a winter slump. Many economists say the economy will expand at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the second quarter, after shrinking during the first three months of 2015. Still, the index's hiring component slipped in June.

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