Wednesday 1 July 2009

DATA SNAP:UK Services Output -0.1% Apr, Smallest Drop In 6 Mos

DATA SNAP:UK Services Output -0.1% Apr, Smallest Drop In 6 Mos

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Output in the U.K.'s dominant services sector fell 0.1% in April, the smallest decline in six months as the economy showed signs of stabilizing after a traumatic first quarter.

The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that service sector output fell 0.1% on the month in April on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Service sector output fell 0.2% in March and declined 0.6% in the first two months of 2009. October was the last month services output did not decline.

In the three months to April, services output declined 1.2% versus a 1.6% drop in the three months to March.

The U.K. economy slumped 2.4% in the first quarter, the largest quarterly decline in more than fifty years. However a string of data in recent weeks has suggested the economy has since stabilized somewhat.

The ONS said the largest declines in services output came from transport, storage and communcation, which fell 1.2% in April. Distribution services increased 1.0%.

The ONS also reported that productivity fell 4.2% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the largest annual decline since records began in 1960.

On a quarterly basis, output per worker fell 2.0% in the first quarter, the biggest drop since 1979 as economic activity fell faster than employment.

-By Laurence Norman, Dow Jones Newswires; 44-207-842-9270;

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July 01, 2009 04:30 ET (08:30 GMT)

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