WASHINGTON (AP) — Services companies grew at a faster pace in February than the previous month, an indication that the economy was still expanding just after the first cases of the coronavirus were reported in the U.S.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its service-sector index rose to 57.3 from 55.5 in January.

Any reading above 50 signals an expansion.

Services companies added jobs at a faster pace last month than in January while business activity declined.

Strong consumer spending, a healthy job market and decent pay gains are driving a healthy service sector and broader economy, but businesses have been cutting sales an profit expectations as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app