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German companies keep busy as surge in orders fuels hiring

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German manufacturers and services providers stepped up hiring in September as order growth accelerated and backlogs of work rose the most in more than four years, according to Markit Economics.

[FRANKFURT] German manufacturers and services providers stepped up hiring in September as order growth accelerated and backlogs of work rose the most in more than four years, according to Markit Economics.

Orders in the manufacturing and services industries rose at the fastest pace in almost two years, pushing a gauge of outstanding business to the highest since May 2011, according to a report published on Wednesday. A Purchasing Managers' Index for manufacturing and services slipped to 54.3 from 55 in August.

The German economy, Europe's largest, is growing at its strongest pace since 2011 and accelerating, causing concern among some observers that it is slowly overheating. The Bundesbank predicts that domestic demand will benefit from growing incomes and low inflation, while manufacturing orders have yet to filter through.

"The German economy is set to grow further in the coming months," said Oliver Kolodseike, an economist at London-based Markit Economics. "The German jobs engine kept humming," and data on orders and backlogs of work "adds further to signs that companies will remain busy," he said.

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A gauge for manufacturing fell to 52.5 from 53.3 and a measure for services declined to 54.3 from 54.9, Markit Economics said.

A composite PMI for France rose to 51.4 in September from 50.2 in August. A measure for the euro area is forecast to slip to 54 from 54.3. That report will be published at 10 a.m. Frankfurt time.

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