The pace of growth remained sharp overall with the IHS Markit Flash France Composite Output Index, which is based on around 85% of usual monthly survey replies, posting well above the neutral 50.0 level.
Moreover, at 57.2 the rate of expansion was the most marked since May 2011.
Having moderated in each of the previous three months, the rate of growth in service sector activity accelerated in September and was only marginally weaker than May’s near-six-year peak.
Further positive news was evident at goodsproducers, with manufacturing production rising to the greatest extent since April 2011.
Underlying the solid increase in private sector activity was another sharp expansion in new orders.
As was the case with output, the rate of expansion quickened to a near six-and-a-half year high and was marked overall.
The acceleration was driven by the service sector.
Meanwhile, the rate of new business growth at manufacturers weakened from August, but remained marked nonetheless.
Buoyed by sharp increases in activity and new orders, private sector companies continued to hire additional staff members in September, thereby continuing a trend that has been evident since November last year.
Job creation was broad-based across both the manufacturing and service sectors.
The rate of growth accelerated in each case, and was marginally steeper at service providers.
Notwithstanding another expansion in private sector payrolls, firms recorded a nineteenth consecutive monthly rise in business outstanding.
Moreover, the rate of backlog accumulation accelerated sharply from the preceding month and was only fractionally softer than May’s six-year record.
Backlogs of unfinished work accrued to a greater extent at manufacturers than at their service sector counterparts, although rates of expansion were marked in each case.
September data signalled a further rise in average input costs faced by companies operating in the French private sector.
Moreover, having softened in each of the preceding four months, the rate of inflation increased sharply from August and was only just shy of the series average.
Average selling prices at French private sector companies increased during September, having decreased slightly in August.
Charge inflation was evident in both the manufacturing and service sectors.
Of particular note, the increase in services was the first for five-and-a-half years.
Finally, French private sector companies maintained an optimistic outlook towards their prospects for activity growth over the coming 12 month period.
Indeed, business confidence improved at both manufacturers and service providers alike. ■
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