British private sector output dropped in September, prompting firms to cut staff, S&P Global says
Companies in the UK's private sector have been downsizing their workforce at the fastest rate since the global financial crisis, apart from the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, as output fell in September, according to data published by S&P Global on Friday.
The latest flash S&P Global Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) figure for the UK slipped to 46.8, down from 48.6 in August, and reached a 32-month low. The reading was well below the 50-mark, which separates growth from contraction, and lower than economists expected, S&P said.
"The disappointing PMI survey results for September mean a recession is looking increasingly likely in the UK," Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, warned.
"The steep fall in output signaled by the flash PMI data is consistent with GDP contracting at a quarterly rate of over 0.4%, with a broad-based downturn gathering momentum to hint at few hopes of any imminent improvement."
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The British jobs market is facing an "abrupt turnaround," prompting companies to shed staff at the fastest pace since the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, excluding the pandemic, S&P said.
"A major concern in the inflation outlook has been wage growth, but with the survey now signaling the sharpest fall in employment since 2009, wage bargaining power is being eroded rapidly," Williamson added.
Overall, private sector business activity in the UK fell at the fastest rate since March 2009 as the cost-of-living crisis and surging borrowing costs dented demand, S&P concluded.
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