4 November 2009 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the UK's services sector continued to strengthen in October, heightening hopes of an economic recovery, according to the latest CIPS/Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).
The industry registered 56.9 last month (a figure above 50 represents growth), a strong gain on September's 55.3.
Levels of new business rose for the fifth time in the past six months, hitting the highest point in over two years. Greater client confidence and new business wins meant activity in the sub sector rose from 54 in September to reach 55.4 last month.
Staff numbers remained in decline, but contracted at a slower rate than in September. Prices charged also stayed below the 50 mark, while input prices increased to the highest level in 11 months.
CIPS chief executive David Noble said: "The services sector is pulling the UK economy out of recession as its own recovery accelerates. Not only have we seen the sector expand for six consecutive months, but the latest growth was the strongest recorded in over two years. Given that the PMI Services survey accounts for almost 40 per cent of the UK economy, this bodes well for wider market pick-up."
Meanwhile, the Markit Eurozone Services PMI reached 52.6 last month, the highest level since December 2007. France led the expansion by a considerable margin, seeing rate of growth surge to a 20-month high.
Further coverage of PMI reports is available here