US services sector expands for fifth straight month in October

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The U.S. services sector, where most Americans work, registered its fifth consecutive month of expansion in October.

The Institute for Supply Management reported today that its index of services activity ticked down to a reading of 56.6 last month, from September’s reading of 57.8. Any reading above 50 signifies expansion in services industries such as restaurants, department stores and delivery companies.

The index registered sharp contractions in April and May as shutdowns aimed at containing the virus closed many businesses and put millions of Americans out of work. But starting in June, the index began to rise again and is just below its February level of 57.3.