05 December 2007 | Antony Barton
Activity in the service sector continued to slow last month, causing industry confidence to drop to its lowest level since March 2003.
The CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index for November, where a figure above 50 represents growth, recorded a score of 51.9, down from 53.1 in October. This was the slowest rate of growth since May 2003.
Some activity growth was created by work on new contracts, with the volume of new work growing for a fifty-fifth successive month. It did, however, drop slightly from 54.2 to 52.3, signaling the slowest rate of expansion for the latter half of 2007.
Companies attributed the slowdown in new business to market uncertainty and tougher trading conditions.
These factors were also blamed for influencing service providers' own expectations. Although nearly half of providers expect that activity will be higher than current levels in 12 months' time - due to product launches, investment and more marketing - the level of confidence, at 69.6, was the lowest for 56 months.
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