By Max Clarke

The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a monthly snapshot of economic performance, has shown strong growth in the UK services industry. The figure of 54.5- higher than the forecast 51, and far exceeding December’s 49.7, has calmed fears that the nation might be heading into a double dip recession.

The news follows yesterday’s report of strong growth in the construction sector, while manufacturing growth has recently reached a 19 year high. Poor performance in the services sector had previously been a concern, and December’s figure reported contraction in the industry.

Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First said:

“While it is early days yet it seems the fears for the UK were overdone and a double dip recession is looking increasingly unlikely said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First.

“There is no doubt that the weather played its part in December’s poor showing, and once the thaw hit it revealed some strong fundamentals.

“The coalition will be breathing a sigh of relief this morning.”