On Friday we saw similar indices, but this time covering services.

For the UK, the business activity index stood at 51, so phew no recession in services, but then again, the UK is perilously close. Alas, the composite index which combines reading on UK services, construction and manufacturing fell from 51.1 in June to 49.5 in July.

Funnily enough, previous data from Markit has been more upbeat than figures from the ONS, which were showing that the UK was in recession in Q1 and Q2 this year. But woe is us, now even Markit’s reading for July is suggesting the UK is contracting.

As for the euro area, the composite PMI which combined manufacturing and services improved,  but only by a tiny amount. The index rose from 46.4 to 46.5. Markit reckons this means the region has not contracted for 11 months.

Readings were as follows: Ireland 50.8, a 2-month low; France 47.9, a 4-month high; Germany 47.5, a 37-month low; Italy 43.2, a 3-month low, and Spain 43.1, a 4-month high.

And finally, in the US the news has been a touch more promising. The business activity index for services improved, rising from 52.1 to 52.6. This is hardly the stuff that runaway booms are made of, but at least the US economy appears to be growing. In fact, combine the PMIs on manufacturing and services and the US appears to expanding at an annualised rate of between 1 and 1.5 per cent.

This evidence of modest growth in the US was also confirmed by latest data on US jobs. July saw a 164,000 rise in non-farm payrolls. That was the best performance since February and better than expected. It is still low however, compared to the rises in excess of 200,000 seen earlier in the year.

©2012 Investment and Business News.

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© Investment & Business News 2013