TEMPE, Ariz. (


) -- The service sector of the economy bounced back in January, showing growth for the first time since October, according to data released Wednesday.

In a measure reflecting a poll of executives, the Institute for Supply Management's index on the nonmanufacturing segment registered a 50.5 in January after posting a 49.8 in December.

A showing above 50 typically denotes expansion in the sector, while a result under 50 hints at contraction.

Despite the slight uptick in January, the effort fell just short of expectations calling for a reading of 51.

The report also revealed advances on more specific fronts. A subsidiary measure on employment improved by 1 percentage point to 44.6. An index on new orders also increased to 54.7 after registering 52 in December.

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In a separate report released earlier in the week, the same group said that activity in the

manufacturing sector rose to its highest level in five years.

After the report, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was shedding 48 points, or 0.5%, at 10,249. The

S&P 500

was also losing 7 points, or 0.7%, to 1096.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York