05 June 2007 | Paul Snell
The service sector continued to grow at a steady rate, according to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Manager's Index.
The index, where a figure above 50 represents growth, recorded a figure of 57.2 in May, the same as the previous month. The IT and computing sectors were responsible for the strongest growth, with activity in personal services declining.
New orders also rose slightly in May compared with April, recording 57.6, up from 57. Firms said that improvements in customer service and efficiency had led to more repeat business with clients. Employment was also up from 52.5 to 54.1 in May, as companies took on more staff to deal with the increased business.
There was also good news for buyers as input costs rose at a slower rate than in April, recording a five-month low at 58.3, down from the previous month's figure of 58.6.
But output charges also slowed with firms citing increased competition as the cause. Future expectations remained strong, recording a figure of 72, but this represented the lowest level in nine months.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at www.supplymanagement.com/pmi