UK services sector suffers worst month for nearly a year as Omicron fears hit business
IHS Markit said its index of activity in the services sector fell from 58.5 in November to 53.6
Britain’s services industry suffered its worst month for nearly a year in December as fears over Omicron hit business.
IHS Markit said its index of activity in the sector – where scores above 50 show growth – fell from 58.5 in November to 53.6.
That was the lowest reading since February and underlined the damage done to the economy at the end of 2021 as ministers introduced fresh restrictions and cautioned against gatherings over Christmas and New Year.
IHS Markit’s report said Omicron ‘led to a steep fall in spending on face-to-face consumer services, escalating business uncertainty and disruptions due to staff absences’.
Tim Moore, economics director at IHS Markit, added: ‘Mass cancellations of bookings in response to the Omicron variant led to a slump in consumer spending on travel, leisure and entertainment.
Survey respondents also noted that renewed restrictions had slowed the recovery in business services.’