UK service sector growth hindered by ‘pingdemic’ and inflation – business

Growth in the UK’s service sector slowed last month, as inflation soared and businesses struggled with staffing issues.

IHS Markit’s latest purchasing managers index (PMI) recorded slowing growth and rising costs in Britain’s dominant service sector last month. Staffing problems also hit services which covers everything from banking to waiting tables.

The service sector — which accounts for around 80% of the UK economy — recorded its slowest growth since March, IHS Markit said.

“Staff shortages, supply chain issues and the end of the full stamp duty holiday for residential property sales were cited as factors leading to a slowdown since June,” the data company said.

Businesses struggled with staffing, as a tight labour market made recruitment difficult and the “pingdemic” left many employees unable to work. Over 1m people were “pinged” by the NHS COVID-19 tracing app and told to isolate last month.

“Many service providers commented on staff shortages due to COVID-19 isolation rules,” IHS Markit said. “Anecdotal evidence also highlighted ongoing difficulties rebuilding business capacity due to supply issues and lengthy wait times to fill vacancies.”

Staffing struggles led many employers to hike wages. Higher wages, combined with rising transport costs, helped to drive up business costs at the fastest pace in 25 years. Consumers prices also rose at a record pace, as businesses passed on rising costs to customers.


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