“Service sector activity continued to improve overall in January,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond service-sector activity survey, released Tuesday. “Retail sales accelerated despite a sharp fall in big-ticket sales and declining shopper traffic.”

Overall, the service sector revenues index slipped to 18 in January from 22 in December, while the number of employees index rose to 8 from 5, the average wage index dropped to 5 from 15, and the expected product demand during the next six months index slid to 17 from 19.

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