US service sector growth speeds up

The the US service sector is picking up pace, according to a the latest figures.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its services index rose to 52.6 last month from 52 in November. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The ISM survey of US services covers industries ranging from utilities and retailing, to healthcare and finance.

It comes on the same day a survey showed numbers of new private sector jobs in the US surged in December.