Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

ECONOMY:
 

Service sector improves, but still weak

Despite rebound, report on businesses such as retail, finance and transportation shows second straight reading of contraction.

Subscribe to Economy
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The nation's service industries continued to decline in February, although not by as much as expected, according to a closely watched survey of executives in the sector that still raised recession worries.

The Institute of Supply Management's report on businesses outside of manufacturing came in at 49.3. That's better than the 44.6 reading for January, as well as the forecast of 47.5 from economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

But any reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector, while a reading over 50 indicates growth.

The service sector makes up the overwhelming majority of the nation's economic activity, including everything from retailers and health care providers to airlines and utilities. It also includes some sectors badly battered by the downturn in housing and home lending, including construction and financial firms.

Taken together with the group's reading earlier this week on manufacturing, which fell to 48.3 from 50.7, the surveys show the nation's economy in decline. To top of page

Photo Galleries
Five most expensive cars sold at Pebble Beach These classic cars went for seven figure sums at the world's premier classic car event. More
Seats that move! Rain! Movie-watching goes beyond 3D How can movie theaters compete when many prefer to watch streaming video from their own comfy couches? Some hope a new interactive technology will lure audiences with immersive effects. More
15 cool cars for sale at Pebble Beach While these events are best known for seven-figure classics, just about everything crosses the block at Pebble Beach. More