ISM services index rises to 54.7% in November (by Jeffry Bartash)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. services sector grew at a slightly faster pace in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM said its survey of purchasing managers - the executives who buy supplies for their companies - rose to 54.7% last month from 54.2% in October. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected the index to drop to 53.0%. Reading over 50% indicate more manufacturers are expanding instead of shrinking. Eleven of the 18 industries tracked by Tempe, Ariz.-based ISM reported growth last month. The ISM's new-orders index jumped 3.3 points to 58.1% and production climbed 5.8 points to 61.2%, but the employment gauge dropped 4.6 points to 50.3%.