SERVICE SECTOR GROWS: U.S. service companies grew at a faster pace in August than July. The growth at firms that employ roughly 90 percent of the work force was driven by solid gains in hiring.
THE NUMBERS: The Institute for Supply Management's index of non-manufacturing activity rose in August to 53.7, up from 52.6 in July. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
OUTLOOK: Economists said stronger growth and hiring among service firms suggests the economy is improving. Still, overall economic growth is expected to say modest for the rest of the year, keeping unemployment elevated.