UK services industry enjoys its fastest growth for five months

Ben Southwood
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SERVICES boomed in August, according to a prominent business survey, with the biggest sector in the economy expanding at its fastest rate in five months.

Jumping to 53.7 – comfortably above the 50 barrier indicating no change – from 51, Markit’s services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) appeared to show meaningful expansion in the all-important sector.

“Service sector companies reported a welcome rebound in activity in August following disruptions due to the additional Jubilee bank holiday and unusually poor summer weather in previous months,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

“With the service sector upturn accompanied by a marked easing in the manufacturing sector downturn, the survey data add to hopes that the economy will pull out of the recession,” he added.

But the construction industry saw a drop in activity from 50.9 to 49 in August, meaning that the sector was almost certain to decline over 2012, according to Markit’s construction PMI.