UK services growth at 16-year high

A picture of the Bank of England
Image caption The Bank of England could revise up its quarterly growth forecasts next week, Markit said

Activity in the UK services sector last month increased at its fastest rate since May 1997, a closely watched survey suggests.

The Markit/CIPS PMI services index rose to 62.5 in October from 60.3 in September, beating forecasts of 59.8.

Readings higher than 50 indicate growth.

Markit said the services sector, which accounts for around three quarters of the economy, was the "major driving force" behind the UK's economic upturn.

Employers were hiring people at the fastest rate since 1997, the survey found.

The reading could lead to the Bank of England revising up its quarterly growth forecasts next week, Markit said.

Alongside strong activity in manufacturing and construction, the results indicated quarterly economic growth of 1.3%, up from 0.8% between July and September this year.

But total economic output for the UK is still less than its 2008 peak.

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