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IHS Markit: US business activity hits 6-month high in July

U.S. business activity in July grew at its fastest pace since January, IHS Markit said Aug. 3, as its U.S. composite PMI output index rose to 54.6 from 53.9.

The composite index is based on data from the IHS Markit U.S. services and manufacturing PMI. The services business activity index went up to 54.7 from 54.2, the biggest expansion in six months.

The increased business activity in the services sector came with growth in new orders, which was the strongest in two years.

Business confidence among service providers was robust, with some firms reporting improving conditions and strengthening client demand, IHS Markit said.

IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said their recent survey data suggest that the U.S. economy is on course for "solid" growth in the third quarter.

"At current levels, the surveys are indicative of GDP rising at an annualised rate of approximately 2%, but if growth accelerates further in line with the upturn in new business, the third quarter could be even stronger," Williamson said.