U.S. Service Economy Unexpectedly Grows at Faster Pace in ISM August Index - Bloomberg The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non- manufacturing businesses increased to 53.3 last month from 52.7 in July. Economists forecast the gauge would drop to 51, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. A reading above 50 signals expansion. A pickup among the non-manufacturing industries that account for about 90 percent of the economy shows the recovery may persist amid dimming job prospects and rising pessimism about the economic outlook. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last month that the economy will probably improve in the second half of this year.