The numbers: The U.S. economy showed signs of a rebound in February, a pair of S&P surveys showed, largely because of steady growth in service-oriented companies such as restaurants, hotels and health care.

The S&P Global “flash” U.S. services sector index climbed to 50.5 from 46.8 in the prior month, marking the first positive reading since last summer. The service side of the economy employs most Americans.

The S&P Global U.S. manufacturing sector index, meanwhile, edged up to a four-month high of 47.8 from 46.9.

Any number below 50 suggests a contracting economy, however.

The S&P surveys are among the first indicators in each month to assess the health of the economy.

Big picture: High interest rates orchestrated by the Federal Reserve to quell inflation have slowed the economy. Yet the U.S. is growing and many companies are still hiring despite warning signs of a potential recession.

Looking ahead: “February is seeing a welcome steadying of business
activity after seven months of decline,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global. “The business mood has brightened amid signs that
inflation has peaked and recession risks have faded.”

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average

and S&P 500

fell in Tuesday trades.


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