Good news this month for the service sector and the engineering sector, with both showing positive growth – according to the latest Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Purchasing Managers Index. Levels of activity in the service sector in December were at their highest since July of 2011, while the engineering sector grew across all three categories – civil engineering, housing and commercial. This is the first time that growth in all three areas has been seen since March 2011.
Commenting on these figures, Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, said “Service sector companies reported surprisingly buoyant business conditions in December, with activity and new business growing at the strongest rates since July. The December survey rounds off a reasonable fourth quarter for the service sector, which is likely to again provide the main stimulus to overall economic growth.” Overall uncertainly in business confidence and hiring plans seems to be having a positive effect for contractors, as they continue to provide a low-risk but experienced alternative to full time employees, for businesses that need to maintain capacity and deal with skills shortages.