The U.S. economy is expanding at a solid pace, defying predictions that the recovery would falter as reported infections rose and stimulus from the government waned.
In Europe and Asia, however, economies are once again faltering as governments have once again imposed restrictions and lockdowns.
Data firm IHS Markit said on Wednesday that its composite Purchasing Managers Index, which measures activity in the manufacturing and service sectors, dipped slightly to 54.4 in September from 54.6 in August.
Readings above 50.0 on the index indicate that activity is increasing.
Growth in the manufacturing sector accelerated, pushing the index up to 53.5 from 53.1. Growth in the services sector tapered a bit to 54.6 from August’s 55. Both were strong enough to signal solid growth as the third quarter begins.
Eurozone business activity, on the other hand, has slowed markedly. The flash eurozone PMI composite index fell to 50.1 from 51.9 in August. The manufacturing sector picked up to 53.7 from 51.7 but the services sector fell to 47.6, indicating contraction and the lowest score since May.
Economists expected a eurozone manufacturing PMI of 51.9 and a services PMI of 50.5.
“A two-speed economy is evident, with factories reporting that production growth was buoyed by rising demand, notably from export markets and the reopening of retail in many countries, but the larger service sector has sunk back into decline as face to-face consumer businesses in particular have been hit by intensifying virus concerns,” Chris Williamson, business economist at IHS Markit, said.
The U.K. composite PMI declined to a 3-month low of 55.7, much stronger than the Eurozone.
Germany’s manufacturing PMI, heavily reliant on exports, jumped to 56.6 from 52.2. Its services sector, however, unexpectedly dropped into contraction territory, registering 49.1 from 52.5. Economists had forecast a rise for the services sector. The German composite index dropped to 53.7, down from 54.4.
France’s PMI fell to 48.5 in September from 51.6 in August, falling short of expectations amid a sharp contraction in its services sector.
Japan once again saw a contraction of factory output, data released on Wednesday showed. It’s manufacturing PMI was largely unchanged at 47.3 in September compared with a final 47.2 in the previous month. This measure has not been expansion territory for 17 months.