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Service sector shrinks less than expected

July 6, 2009 7:19:21 AM PDT
A trade group's measure of the health of the U.S. services sector contracted less than expected in June, reaching its highest level in nine months. The Institute for Supply Management's services index read 47 in June, up from 44 in May. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a reading of 45.5 last month.

Any reading below 50 indicates the services sector is shrinking, and June marked the ninth straight month of deterioration. But it was the best showing since September when the index was at 50.

Service industries such as retailers, financial services, transportation and health care make up about 70 percent of the country's economic activity. Any turnaround in the sector requires improved consumer spending.

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