Britain’s economy displayed clear recession signals on Friday, a day after the Bank of England called a halt to its long run of interest rate increases that have turned the tide on inflation but at the expense of a hit to businesses.

A business survey, which the BoE factored into its decision to keep rates on hold, showed companies endured a much tougher September than feared, marked by growing unemployment.

The preliminary reading of the UK S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the services sector sank to its lowest since the pandemic lockdown of January 2021 and below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

Aside from during the COVID-19 pandemic, the index last fell this low during the Global Financial Crisis. Its gauge of jobs suffered its biggest fall on record outside of the pandemic.

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