03 September 2009
Activity in the services sector grew at its fastest rate in two years in August, according to latest CIPS/Markit UK Services Purchasing Managers' Index.
Total activity in the sector registered 54.1 last month, where a figure above 50 indicates growth. It was an improvement on July's score of 53.2.
The level of incoming business continued to rise in August, but at a slightly slower rate than the month before.
Staff numbers fell to 45.8 last month, but this was an improvement on July, when employment activity registered 43.6.
Prices charged to customers and levels of outstanding business fell in August, while input costs rose.
David Noble, CIPS chief executive, said the industry had bounced back from lows earlier this year, but added that conditions are still "fragile".
"While finance and hospitality are experiencing the most robust levels of growth, IT and personal services continue to struggle," he said.
Elsewhere, the Markit Eurozone Services Business Activity Index continued to contract in August, but at the slowest rate in 28 months. Activity registered 49.9 last month, up from 45.7 in July.
Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/EDIT/PMI/pmi.asp