April 6, 2015 / 2:18 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. March services sector activity rises to highest since August: Markit

Cashiers check out for Thanksgiving Day shoppers at a Target store in Chicago, November 27, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Nelles

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. services sector expanded in March at its fastest pace since August, an industry report showed on Monday.

Financial firm Markit said its final reading of its Purchasing Managers Index for the services sector rose to 59.2 in March from 57.1 in February. The March reading was the highest level since August and was above the preliminary, or “flash,” reading of 58.6.

A reading over 50 signals expansion in economic activity.

Markit’s March reading of employment at service companies rose to 54.0, up from 52.7 in February and its highest reading since June. The March number was the same as the preliminary reading.

The services index’s new business component also rose in March to its highest since September.

Markit’s composite PMI, a weighted average of its manufacturing and services indexes, rose to 59.2 in March, its best reading since August, from 57.2 in February. The preliminary March reading was 58.5.

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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