NEW YORK--The services sector activity unexpectedly grew in November, according to the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM).

The NAPM said its non-manufacturing index, a gauge of the vast services sector, surged to 51.3 in November from a four-year low of 40.6 in the prior month.

A reading above 50 indicates growth in the services sector, which includes everything from transportation to legal and financial services.

The new orders index, a gauge of future business activity, rose to 48.3 in November from 40.4 in October, but still indicated contraction. The non-manufacturing imports index also rose to 52.4 from 49.8 in the prior month.