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The UK service sector registered a fall in business activity in July, according to the latest PMI® survey data from IHS Markit and CIPS. Output and new business both declined for the first time in over three-and-a-half years, and at the fastest rates since early-2009. Consequently, employment in the sector was unchanged since June, ending a three-and-a-half-year period of uninterrupted job creation. The 12-month outlook for activity weakened sharply to the lowest since February 2009, linked to uncertainty regarding 'Brexit'.
The headline figure for the survey is the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Services Business Activity Index, a single-figure measure designed to track changes in total UK services activity compared with one month previously.
Readings above 50.0 signal growth of activity compared with the previous month, and below 50.0 contraction. The Business Activity Index fell to 47.4 in July, from 52.3 in June, signalling a fall in UK services output. This was the first contraction since December 2012, and the rate of decline was the strongest since March 2009.
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