Great Recession

Service Sector Refuses to Grow

The service sector—which makes up 88 percent of the U.S. economy—is still weak. The worst layoffs look to be over, but hiring has not yet picked up. The Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing index is expected to show a tepid 50.5 when the ISM releases figures Wednesday. (Above 50 tends to indicate expansion; below indicates contraction.) Some service businesses are doing well, however. Vocational and retraining schools are benefiting from people's tendency to go back to school during a recession, a researcher said. Unfortunately, retailers have laid people off and boosted profit per employee, and aren’t likely to hire unless they see a spike in sales.