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UK recovery slows as staff shortages take their toll

Staff and supply shortages have taken their toll on the UK's economic recovery, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).

August’s PMI hit a six-month low of 55.3, down from 59.2 in July.

A score above 50 indicates growth, however the post-pandemic recovery appears to be losing momentum due to shortfalls. Companies previously found staffing levels difficult to maintain due to self-isolation requirements for contacts of people with coronavirus (COVID-19). However, self-isolation rules were dropped from 13 August for people who have been fully vaccinated.

Chris Williamson, Economist at IHS Markit, said: ‘Despite COVID-19 containment measures easing to the lowest since the pandemic began, rising virus case numbers are deterring many forms of spending, notably by consumers, and have hit growth via worsening staff and supply shortages.

‘Supplier delays have risen to a degree exceeded only once before – in the initial months of the pandemic – and the number of companies reporting that output had fallen due to staff or materials shortages has risen far above anything ever seen previously in more than 20 years of survey history.’

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