BEIJING--Activity in China's service sector expanded at a faster pace in October, a private gauge showed Thursday, adding to recent signs of firmness in China's economy.

The Caixin China services purchasing managers' index rose to a four-month high of 52.4 in October from 52.0 in September, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said.

A reading above 50 indicates a month-to-month expansion while a reading below that points to a contraction.

Service providers reported faster growth of new orders and increased their payrolls for the second month in a row, said Markit.

"Overall, the economy continued to expand in October and at a stronger growth rate," said Zhengsheng Zhong, an economist at CEBM Group.

The Caixin China services PMI is based on monthly questionnaires sent to purchasing executives at more than 400 service-sector companies.

China's official nonmanufacturing PMI, which includes the construction sector, edged up to 54.0 in October from 53.7 in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

Write to Liyan Qi at liyan.qi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 02, 2016 22:10 ET (02:10 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.