New data released yesterday further justifies the UK’s coronavirus strategy. Last month, the IHS Market purchasing managers index (PMI) for services, which measures growth, was positive for the first time since October.
The rapid vaccine rollout and the end in sight of lockdown restrictions are being credited with the bounce back.
Tim Moore, Economics Director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: “UK service providers were back in expansion mode in March as confidence in the roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions provided a strong uplift to new orders.
“Total business activity increased at the fastest rate since August 2020 and this return to growth ended a four-month sequence of decline.”
He added: “Forward bookings for consumer services and rising optimism about recovery prospects resulted in extra staff hiring across the service economy for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
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“Business optimism improved for the fifth month running in March and was the highest since December 2006.”
“Around two-thirds of the survey panel forecast an increase in output during the year ahead, which reflected signs of pent up demand and a boost to growth projections from the successful UK vaccine rollout.”
Globally, the PMI rose to its highest level in more than six years in the latest data, with the US leading the way, followed by Germany and the UK.
Explaining the figures, economist Julian Jessop said: “US is benefiting both from additional fiscal stimulus and rapid rollout of vaccines.
“Germany’s export-led economy usually does relatively well in global upswings.”
However, while Germany’s economy saw growth last month, the eurozone as a whole faltered.
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The index places anything at over 50 as market growth, while anything below indicates a contraction.
Britain clocked in a score of 56.8, compared to 49.6 for the eurozone.
The EU’s coronavirus vaccine rollout has been far slower than in Britain and many countries have been plunged into new lockdowns due to a third wave of the virus.
In the UK 46.58 percent of the whole population has received a first jab, according to Our World in Data.
The EU has given at least one jab to just 13.1 percent of people.
Last week France and Italy both imposed new restrictions, and Germany’s Angela Merkel yesterday said she was in favour of a short, tough lockdown to combat the rise in cases.
While infections continue to rise on the continent, the UK seen coronavirus cases plummet over the past month.
Yesterday 2,763 cases confirmed by a positive test were confirmed, a drop of 36.6 percent in a week.
There were also 45 new deaths, a 35.5 percent decrease over seven days.