The numbers: The U.S. economy expanded at an above-average speed in February, a pair of S&P surveys found, and gave little indication of trouble ahead.

The flash U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to a 17-month high of 51.5 this month, aided by the strongest increase in new orders in more than a year and a half.

The S&P flash U.S. services PMI dipped to a three-month low of 51.3, but numbers above 50 signal growth in the economy.

The surveys are the first indicators of each month to give a sense of how the U.S. economy is performing. What they show is steady if modest growth and the prospect of improvement.

Big picture: The U.S. economy is still humming along despite the highest interest rates in more than two decades.

Gross domestic product, the official scorecard for the economy, is on track to expand at 2%-plus in the first quarter after sizable gains in the back half of last year.

The prospect of interest-rate cuts later this year could also give the economy more support in the months ahead.

Key details: New orders, a sign of future sales, picked up at manufacturers and held steady at service firms.

If manufacturers continue to rebound, however, the larger service side of the economy would also benefit.

The increase in hiring was relatively modest this month, S&P found.

The prices that businesses pay for supplies rose at the slowest pace since 2020 in February, businesses reported.

Looking ahead: “The early PMI data for February indicate that the US economy continued to expand midway through the first quarter, pointing to annualized GDP growth in the region of 2%,”said S&P business economist Chris Williamson.