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Services Sector Grows in EU, UK and US in October
Nov 7, 2002

Euro area services industries returned to positive growth in October after contracting in September for the first time in 21 months. However, the increase in business activity, which is measured by the NTC Research-Reuters Services Index, was almost insignificant. The index for October was 50.1. In turn, Services activity in the U.S., which is measured by the Non-Manufacturing Index of the Institute of Supply Management, registered an increase in activity for its ninth consecutive month in October. The business activity index registered a 53.1 level in October, which despite being bellow the 53.9 measurement in September, indicates that recovery in the services sector is well underway. The UK services sector, which has registered remarkable resilience for most of this year, registered a 55.6 level in business activity in October. This level was slightly higher than level of business activity registered in September that stood at 55.5.

Despite growth in services activity in Europe and the U.S., employment levels continued to decrease during October. In the Euro area, employment in the services sector registered a 47.9 level that indicates that reductions in employment have slowed down from the 46.5 level registered in September, which was the most significant drop since the index is being measured. To a great extent, the poor performance in Euro area services employment is due to a sustained trend in job losses in Germany, which in October completed 15 months of continued reduction in employment levels.

U.S. employment dropped at a slightly faster rate than in September, after the Non-manufacturing employment October index stood at 46.2. With the further reduction in employment in October, the U.S. Non-Manufacturing industries complete a 20 month trend of continued job losses. UK services industries also registered a drop in employment in October, but the 48.7 level, which was slightly higher than the September level indicated that reductions in employment.

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