Growth in America’s service sector quickened last month, new figures from the Institute for Supply Management show.

The ISM’s index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 54.5 in January, up from December’s reading of 54.2. This marks the twelfth month in succession the index has been above the 50.0 threshold between expansion and contraction.

One notable statistic was the first rise in service-sector employment for nearly two years. This section of the index climbed from 46.9 to 50.3 – the first reading above 50 since February 2001.

The scale of America’s hiring slump is revealed in new figures from the Labor Department. Since the start of the last recession in March 2001, the total US workforce has fallen by 1.5%, the worst employment downturn in nearly two decades.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff