European productivity falls despite UK effort
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Output in Europe has fallen for the fifth consecutive month despite the UK's best attempt to reverse the decline.
Findings from the latest Markit EU Productivity Purchasing Managers' Index finds that, of the four largest EU countries, Germany and Italy posted further declines in productivity, while France registered no change since July.
However, the UK posted a marginal improvement in the study of the manufacturing and services economy.
Markit's seasonally adjusted index is a single-figure indicator of productivity calculated from its national manufacturing and services survey data.
Readings of above 50.0 signify an improvement in productivity over the month proceeding, while a figure below that mark records a decline.
August has recorded a reading of 48.7, slightly up on July's figure of 48.6, but still below the positive benchmark. It signals the fifth month in a row that the index figure has fallen below 50, the longest sequence in 40 months.
Markit's findings show that the goods-producing sector continued to record a steeper rate of decline, while the rate in decline in services productivity is unchanged from July.
Italy has held onto its tag of 'worst performing big-four EU economy', and has posted a thirteenth successive monthly decline in output per head.
The UK private sector has registered a marginal improvement in productivity, following a flat trend in July.
Markit’s senior economist Rob Dobson comments, ‘Sharp declines in new orders at manufacturers and service providers, plus further job losses, mean that there is little prospect of a sustained improvement in economic conditions over the near-term.’