The U.S. service sector grew last month a pace that surprised economists.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released its non-manufacturing index today. For July, the index rose to 52.6, up from 52.1 in June.
Economists had forecast the index to remain flat for July, Bloomberg noted.
Still, the non-manufacturing index remains down from a monthly average of 54.2 since the beginning of the year.
Analysts cited by Bloomberg noted that consumer demand for products and services is falling as Americans grow more concerned over the economy and persistent high unemployment.
The service sector report follows other mixed economic news.
On Wednesday, the ISM said its manufacturing index showed a reading of 49.8 for July. Economists had expected a reading of 50.2. Any reading below 50 shows a contracting sector.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said today that the U.S. economy generated 163,000 new jobs last month, topping the 100,000 new jobs predicted by economists, though the unemployment rate still ticked up to 8.3%.