The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index was 40.6 in December, up from 37.3 in November, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said yesterday.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 37.0 level.

The prices paid index, closely watched for signs of inflation, slid to 36.0 from 36.6. The employment index increased to 34.7 from 31.3.

The business activity index grew to 39.6 from 33.0, and the new orders index was at 39.9, up from 35.4.

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