TOKYO Activity in Japan's services sector expanded in January at a slightly slower pace than the previous month, a survey showed on Friday, but the outlook remains bright as companies said they plan to open new stores to accommodate more business.
The Markit/Nikkei Japan Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 51.9 in January from 52.3 in December, which was an 11-month high.
The index remained above the 50 threshold, which separates expansion from contraction, for the fourth consecutive month.
Employment in services rose for the first time in eight months, and the rate of job creation was the highest since December 2015.
January's index for new business was 53.1, the same level recorded for December.
Services account for around two-thirds of Japan's gross domestic product, so expansion in that sector could help overall economic growth.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Richard Borsuk)