Signs of recovery in UK services

3 December 2009

3 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

The UK services sector continued to recover last month as levels of new work hit the highest point in over two years.

According to the latest CIPS/Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index – where a figure above 50 represents growth – the industry recorded 56.6 in November. This was slightly down on October’s figure of 56.9.

The rate of new orders rose to 56.8 last month, the highest point since September 2007 and a strong increase on October’s score of 55.4. Market conditions improved and delayed projects were restarted.

Despite this improvement, staff levels fell for the 19th successive month and prices charged by service providers also continued to decline. Future business expectations remained high, while input prices increased further.

CIPS chief executive David Noble said the overall growth was steady, but not spectacular. “Some may be hoping to see growth accelerating faster, but operating conditions remain tough. There will be no quick bounce back to pre-recession levels of activity.

“However, in contrast to the more fragile construction and manufacturing sectors, the UK services industry has shown growth for seven months now, which looked very unlikely in the dark days at the start of this year.”

Elsewhere, activity in the European services sector increased at the fastest rate in two years. The Markit Eurozone Services PMI reached 53 last month, up from 52.6 in October.

Further coverage of PMI reports is available here

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