Better data from UK and US provides some cheer

Julian Harris
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WOE in the Eurozone was offset by a wave of promising economic data from the UK and the US yesterday.

The UK’s biggest sector – services – ended last year on a “surprisingly buoyant” note, new research said, while America’s efforts to heal its ailing jobs market showed signs of progress.

The US private sector added 325,000 new jobs in December according to an estimate by ADP, a group that runs outsourced employment services. Today, official non-farm payroll figures are released, with Capital Economics expecting a more modest 150,000 increase in employment for December.

Fresh claims for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 last week, according to separate data -- measuring 372,000 initial claims.

Meanwhile back in the UK, December data from Markit’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed services activity and incoming new businesses at their highest rates of growth since July 2011. The service sector PMI rose to 54 from 52.1 in November. Markit also recorded the fastest growth since July for the “all sector” PMI -- which measures activity throughout the economy -- rising from 51.2 to 53.2 in December.