30 Jan 2012

Service sector subdued

6:45 pm on 30 January 2012

Activity in the services sector returned to a more subdued level of growth in December, following a significant jump in November.

The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index slipped 5.6 points to 50.6, after hitting 56.6 the previous month.

The reading remains above 50, which still suggests the sector is expanding.

BNZ economist Craig Ebert says the latest figure represents a slowdown, but the fall was anticipated given an unusally strong result in November.

He told Evening Business on Checkpoint December's result is consistent with trends over the last few months which indicate moderate growth within the country's services sector.

Business New Zealand says the survey shows the year ended with more of a whimper than a bang.

While the service sector has been growing for 26 consecutive months, it has struggled to get beyond moderate levels of expansion.

The sector covers such services as teaching, cleaning and transportation.