The services industry expanded, albeit slowly, in January, according to the Institute for Supply Management's latest report. Sales, hiring, and new orders were all on the rise. 

The Tempe, Arizona-based nonprofit group focused on research and education reported its service-sector index rose to 54 in January, up from a six-month low of 53 a month earlier. An index of more than 50 indicates growth in the industry, which makes up almost 90 percent of the nation's economy. 

Anthony Nieves, chairman of ISM's non-manufacturing survey, says the latest index shows a positive, yet tentative forecast: "There remains a bit of uncertainty about the overall economy for some of the survey respondents; however, the majority feel positive about continued economic growth." 

Nieves told the Associated Press the services sector has been on a sustainable path, despite its "slow, incremental growth." As the report illustrates, new orders rose 0.5 points to 50.9, while hiring rose 0.8 points to 56.4, and employment increased from 0.8 percent to 56.4 percent.

Out of the 18 non-manufacturing industries surveyed--which included forestry, fishing and hunting--eleven reported growth throughout January.