Growth continues in the services sector
Profits continued to grow in the consumer sector, aided by higher prices, whereas prices in business and professional services fell to their lowest since May 2013, meaning profits held steady.
Employment increased at its fastest pace for seven years in the business and professional sector, which includes accountancy, legal and marketing firms. The number of employees in the consumer services sector, which includes hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure firms, also increased.
With skills shortages starting to bite, expenditure on staff training in the consumer sector rose to its highest level for 15 years, and is expected to remain strong. Training costs are also expected to increase in the business and professional services sector.
The survey of 191 firms revealed that investment rose across the sector, with capital expenditure on land and buildings in the consumer sector reaching its highest level since 2010. And in business and professional services spending on IT grew to levels not seen since February 2007.