24 Sep 2020The UK's recovery from the Covid-19 lockdown was losing momentum even before the announcement of new restrictions to control the spread of the virus, according to the latest data. The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to a three-month low of 55.7 in September after hitting a six-year high of 59.1 in August. The survey showed strong growth in Britain's services and manufacturing sectors but also reflected a slowdown in new orders and the weakest confidence about future output since May. Businesses in the survey said they were reducing staff numbers for a seventh consecutive month - the longest such run since 2010. Commenting on the data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, said: 'It was not surprising to see that the slowdown was especially acute in services, where the restaurant sector in particular saw demand fall sharply as the eat out to help out scheme was withdrawn. 'Demand for other consumer-facing services also stalled as companies struggled amid new measures introduced to fight rising infection rates and consumers often remained reluctant to spend.'