05 October 2009 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the UK's services sector grew at the fastest rate in two years last month, according to the latest CIPS/Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).
In the survey - where a figure above 50 represents growth - the industry registered 55.3 in September, up from 54.1 the month before. It was the fifth consecutive month of expansion and a clear sign the sector has bounced back from the record low of 40.1 in November last year.
Supporting the growth was the third successive rise in new business. High demand and greater confidence pushed the sub-sector up to 54, compared with 52.6 in August.
Future business expectations continued to soar, but employment numbers and levels of outstanding work remained in steep contraction.
CIPS chief executive David Noble said: "The UK services sector is really bouncing back and regaining further ground. Growth has not only been sustained for five months now but September saw it expand at its fastest pace in two years. With future expectations hitting a near two-and-a-half year high, it's likely we'll see growth gain momentum over the coming months.
"However, this isn't a consistent picture across the UK services economy. Though we're starting to see a turnaround in the hospitality sector, some sub-sectors, such as transport and storage, are still in decline."
Meanwhile, the Markit Eurozone Services PMI reached a 16-month high of 50.9 last month, up from 49.9 in August. France and Germany led the improvement, with both countries recording strong growth.
Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/EDIT/PMI/pmi.asp