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January U.S. PMI data signal broad upturn led by consumer services

Staff Writer |
January’s batch of US Sector PMI data from Markit highlighted improving growth trends across a number of key areas of the economy.

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All seven monitored sectors signalled an expansion in activity, with rates of growth accelerating in five of those cases.

This was in line with a robust performance signalled by the U.S. Composite Output PMI, which climbed to a 14-month high of 55.8 at the start of 2017. Consumer services was the standout performer among the seven sectors in January.

Not only did it post the strongest rise in activity for 20 months, it also turned the league table upside down having been bottom-ranked in December. New orders increased substantially in January, leading to the best round of job creation since September 2015.

Its manufacturing counterpart, consumer goods, also signalled marked growth of output in January. The latest increase maintained the sector’s impressive performance in recent months – it was top-ranked on average in Q4 and across 2016 as a whole.

Technology was another sector to see a sharp rise in output. Tech companies posted the second-fastest expansion out of all sectors, helped by the quickest increase in new work for almost seven years.

Healthcare and industrials ranked fourth and fifth respectively. Both signalled growth of output in excess of 2016 trends.

In particular, healthcare firms raised activity to the greatest extent in 21 months, having previously registered contraction on three occasions last year.

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