A monthly survey of purchasing managers for the services sector by data compiler Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply showed growth slipped to 57.6 in March. That was the lowest level since June 2013, much weaker than the expected increase to 58.5, and down from February's 58.2.
The slowdown in expansion was due to slower growth across the sector--new business growth slid to 58.5 from February's 59.2, while employment growth fell to 53.5 in March from 55.6 and business expectations hit a four-month-low of 72.8 in March, down from 74.7 a month earlier.
A figure above 50 signifies growth while below shows contraction. And, despite the recent slowdown, the U.K. services PMI has been above 50 since January 2013.
Despite the easier pace of growth, the all-sector PMI for the first quarter of the year, which Markit uses to calculate an estimate of GDP growth using activity across the manufacturing, construction and services sectors, suggests "at least" a 0.7% quarter-on-quarter gain.