The Institute for Supply Management said its Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) registered 56.1% in December, 1.4 percentage points higher than the 54.7% registered in November. This indicates continued growth at a slightly faster rate in the non-manufacturing sector.

A reading above 50% indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

In addition, the ISM said economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in December for the 36th consecutive month.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index registered 60.3%, which is 0.9 percentage point lower than the 61.2% reported in November, reflecting growth for the 41st consecutive month. The New Orders Index increased by 1.2 percentage points to 59.3%. The Employment Index increased by 6 percentage points to 56.3%, indicating growth in employment for the fifth consecutive month at a significantly faster rate. The Prices Index decreased 0.4 percentage point to 56.6%, indicating prices increased at a slightly slower rate in December when compared to November.

According to the NMI, 13 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in December. Respondents’ comments remain mixed and are mostly positive about business conditions and the economy.”

The 13 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in December — listed in order — are: Information; Construction; Retail Trade; Finance & Insurance; Public Administration; Other Services; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; Mining; Real Estate, Rental & Leasing; Health Care & Social Assistance; Utilities; and Transportation & Warehousing.

The five industries reporting contraction in December are: Accommodation & Food Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical Services; Wholesale Trade; Educational Services; and Management of Companies & Support Services.

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