Business activity at French service sector firms contracted the least in one year, despite a faster decline in incoming new work, detailed results of a survey by Markit Economics showed Wednesday.
The business activity index, which measures the health of the service sector, rose to a 12-month high of 48.9 in August from 48.6 in July. The preliminary report showed a lower reading of 47.7.
An index reading above 50 indicates expansion of the sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.
The composite output index, that measures business activity in the entire private sector including manufacturing and service sector firms, slipped to 48.8 from 49.1 in July. This was higher than the preliminary reading of 47.9.
The level of new business placed with service providers continued to decrease in August, extending the current period of contraction to 17 months.
Employment at service providers fell for a sixteenth consecutive month. However, the latest decrease in staffing levels was only modest and the least marked since June 2012, Markit said.
Data also signaled a modest drop in overall private sector employment during August that was the slowest since April 2012.
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