The numbers: Restaurants and other service-oriented companies grew rapidly in October as coronavirus cases fell nationwide, showing the economy is speeding up again even in the face of persistent labor and supply shortages.
An index based on a survey of business executives jumped to a record 66.7% from 61.9% in September, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday. Any reading above 50% signals expansion and numbers above 60% are exceptional.
The increase was much bigger than Wall Street expected. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the ISM services index to total 62%.
Big picture: Falling coronavirus cases tied to the highly contagious delta variant has given Americans the confidence to go outside again and spend more freely at restaurants, hotels, airports and the like. That’s given a boost to the service side of the U.S. economy that employs the vast majority of Americans.