December 5, 2018 / 9:02 AM / 6 days ago

French service sector growth slows slightly in November: PMI

FILE PHOTO: A French waiter serves customers seated at sidewalk tables near the Arc de Triomphe (rear, partially hidden) on the Champs Elysees, January 5.

PARIS (Reuters) - French service sector growth slowed a touch in November from the previous month, while the broader outlook for the euro zone’s second-biggest economy remained weak in areas such as job creation and business confidence, said data compiler IHS Markit.

IHS Markit’s purchasing managers index (PMI) for the French service sector inched down to 55.1 points in November from 55.3 points in October, albeit up slightly from the initial estimate for the November reading.

The composite PMI for November, factoring in both the services and manufacturing industries, edged up to 54.2 points from 54.1 in October.

Nevertheless, IHS Markit said there was cause for concern about a slowdown in hiring.

Official data in November showed France’s jobless rate had not changed much in the third quarter to stand at 9.1 percent, despite recent evidence of new jobs being created.

“The French service sector saw a broad-based softening of growth across all key indicators during November,” said IHS Markit’s economist Eliot Kerr.

“Other than the two-year low for business sentiment, perhaps the most worrying reading was the slowdown in hiring. The 15-month low for the employment index could be a sign that labor market issues are beginning to take hold,” added Kerr.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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