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LONDON (Reuters) - Business activity across the world hit a 16-month high in July, helped by improvements in the United States and Britain, according a business survey on Monday.
JPMorgan's Global All-Industry Output Index, compiled with Markit, rose to 54.1 in July from June's 51.2, holding above the 50 threshold for growth for four years.
While the U.S. and Britain represented high points, growth in Japan eased, while business activity contracted in the BRIC countries of China, India, Brazil and Russia.
"The global economy made a positive start to the third quarter," said Joe Lupton, senior economist at JPMorgan.
"Although the stronger performance signalled is pleasing in itself, the structure remains uncomfortably uneven by region, particularly with regard to job creation."
The index measuring changes in employment slipped to 51.0 in July, compared with 51.6 the previous month, indicating firms hired staff at a slower pace last month.
The global service sector PMI rose to 54.9 in July from 51.1 in June, its best showing in 17 months.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Ron Askew