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Growth at US service firms steady, hiring picks up
US service firms grow at steady pace in October, gauge of hiring increases
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Growth at U.S. service firms held steady in October and hiring increased. The gains for the sector that employ 90 percent of the work force suggest the economy is growing at a modest pace.

The Institute for Supply Management says its service sector index dipped slightly to 52.9, from 53 in September. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion. The index covers retailers, financial services firms, hotels and all other non-manufacturing industries.

New orders and order backlogs fell. An index measuring employment rose to 53.3, after falling below 50 the previous month. That's evidence that service firms are adding workers.

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