Britain’s dominant services sector expanded steadily in March, pointing to solid economic growth in the first quarter, even though the rate of expansion was the slowest since last June and hiring eased, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) edged down to 57.6 in March from 58.2 in February, below economists’ consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a reading of 58.1.
Still, the index remains far above the 50 mark denoting growth and pointed to robust growth in services, which account for more than three-quarters of Britain’s economy and include major banks to high street restaurants.
Growth in new business and optimism also eased. On the heels of an unexpected slip in British manufacturing growth in March, the data suggests last year’s surprisingly rapid rebound could be losing some momentum.