There was mixed news today from the purchasing managers' surveys for August, with the construction survey showing a drop from 50.9 to 49 while the larger service-sector PMI jumped from 51 to 53.7. This was what Markit, which prepares the data, had to say about services:
"A solid expansion of UK service sector activity was signalled in August as companies benefited from a further rise in incoming new business and continued to make inroads into unfinished work. Capacity was further increased as positive expectations were retained by a significant proportion of service providers.
"However, amid evidence that the operating environment remains challenging, sales and activity continue to grow at below par rates, while confidence was again well below its historical trend level.
"The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index was comfortably above the 50.0 no-change mark in August. Posting 53.7 and rising from July’s 51.0, the index signalled a twentieth consecutive month of growth and its best reading since March."