UK service sector continues to "expand strongly"

A Markit survey has indicated that the UK service sector continued to "expand strongly" in February 2014, with job creation at its fastest pace for four months.

The expansion is also supported by another marked increase in new business.

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the sector was 58.2 last month and, although this is below January's reading of 58.3, it is well above the 50 level that indicates expansion.

Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist said: "Alongside vibrant growth in manufacturing, the upbeat picture of the services economy points to the country enjoying another quarter of robust economic growth of approximately 0.7%.”

Williamson added: "There's no end in sight to the good news: with business confidence in the services economy rising further in February, growth should pick up again in March, adding conviction to the growing consensus that the economy is set for its best year of growth since 2007, with the rate easily surpassing the 1.8% expansion seen last year."

The strong expansion within the service sector led to staffing levels rising at their fastest pace since October last year. Business confidence grew for the fourth month in a row, and reached its highest level of September 2009.

Markit said that companies expected the economic recovery to be maintained, with firms planning to raise investment in marketing and in growing their businesses.