05 February 2008 | Paul Snell
Growth in the services sector remained steady in January, up slightly on December.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index, where a figure above 50 represents growth, activity in the service sector registered 52.5 in January, up marginally on December's figure of 52.4.
Growth was attributed to the start of new contracts and new marketing and advertising campaigns. But while activity in IT and computing and the personal services sectors increased, falling consumer confidence affected growth in the hotels and restaurants and financial intermediation sectors.
Higher utility costs for buyers meant input prices remained near the record level reached in December. Costs recorded a figure of 63.8 in January, down slightly on December's 63.9.
Staff levels also increased last month at a steady rate, reaching 52.1, compared with the previous month's figure of 52. Companies linked the expansion to the growth in new business.
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