The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey of services-sector firms is out.

The report’s headline index rose to 54.0 from December’s 53.0 reading. Economists were looking for a smaller advance to 53.7.

The all-important employment sub-component advanced to 56.4 from 55.6.

The figures suggest that overall business activity in America’s services sector — which accounts for roughly 80% of the economy — accelerated more than expected in January, as did hiring in the sector.

The acceleration in hiring augurs well for Friday’s release of the official jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Click here for the full ISM release »

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