The U.S. economy is at the point where if an indicator contracts only slightly, it's considered good news. So it may come as very good news that the Institute for Supply Management reports today that economic activity in the nonmanufacturing sector actually grew in the month of April.
The index, which is derived from a survey of businesses representing about 80 percent of the economy, registered growth last month after showing contraction for three months in a row. The index was at 52.0, up from 49.6 in March, with anything above 50 signaling growth. The industries that spurred this growth included construction, educational services, retail trade, and the arts, while transportation, finance, and healthcare were among the industries still on the decline.