UK service sector activity continues to increase in March; Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI registers 52.4, up from 51.8 in February and the best reading in seven survey periods

LONDON , April 4, 2013 (press release) – Key Points:

  • New business volumes rise at strongest rate since last May
  • Fractional rise in employment also recorded
  • Business confidence at ten-month high

Business activity in the UK service sector continued to increase during March. Growth was solid and the strongest since last August as incoming new work also rose at an accelerated rate. Payroll numbers increased, albeit at a fractional pace, while confidence in the outlook improved to the highest for ten months.

The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index registered 52.4 in March. That was up from February’s 51.8 and the best reading for seven survey periods. Solid growth was achieved despite a number of reports that poor weather had weighed on activity.

Increased service sector output was supported by a marked rise in new business. Latest data showed growth was the steepest since May 2012, with companies commenting on an underlying strengthening of market demand. Clients were reported to be showing improved confidence and willingness to commit to new contacts. Growth in new business has now been recorded for three months in succession, and at increasingly strong rates.

Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI®

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