PMI reveals that services sector growth reached a four-month high in November

According to the Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), during November the UK’s services sector underwent its fastest period of growth for four months.

The news marks the signs of a strengthening economy ahead of December, which is traditionally a strong period for the sector due to the run-up to Christmas.

Furthermore, the 55.9 PMI figure recorded for November actually exceeded what many economic analysts had predicted: Reuters, for example, expected a much lower reading of 55.0 for the UK’s services.

Last year, Britain had the fastest-growing major economy in the world, and the trend seems set to continue despite the Government’s failure to create a more balanced economy across other industry sectors during 2015.

It is expected that national growth will be 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, which would be a small improvement on the figure recorded for the period during July to September.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said: “A welcome upturn in service sector expansion helped counter slower growth in manufacturing and construction in November, suggesting the UK continues to enjoy the ‘Goldilocks’ scenario of solid economic growth and low inflation.”

He added: “For now, falling oil and energy costs are offsetting rising wage growth and keeping a lid on inflationary pressures, but the upturn in earnings growth raises question marks over just how long inflation, and therefore interest rates, will remain low for.”

However, input prices within the sector, including wages, rose at the fastest pace since July, which will be something economists continue to monitor closely during the early part of 2016.