BEIJING -- An official gauge of business activity outside Chinese factory floors climbed to a four-month high in May, boosted by a strong recovery in the country's construction activity.

China's official nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 53.6 in May from 53.2 in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said Sunday. May's reading shows a month-on-month expansion, coming in above the 50 level.

The subindex measuring construction activity surged to 60.8 in May from 59.7 previously, while the subindex measuring business activity in the service sector edged up to 52.3 from 52.1 in April.

The new-orders subindex for the entire nonmanufacturing sector, a measure of demand, increased to 52.6 from 52.1 in April. A subindex measuring employment edged down to 48.5 from 48.6.

Recovery in construction activity accelerated but activity of some service providers battered by the coronavirus outbreak, such as sports and entertainment, remained weak, Zhao Qinghe, a statistics bureau analyst, said in a statement accompanying the data release.

The nonmanufacturing PMI covers services such as retail, aviation and software, as well as the real-estate and construction sectors. The data are based on the replies to monthly questionnaires sent to purchasing executives at 4,000 companies in 37 nonmanufacturing sectors.

A separate gauge of factory activity, also released Sunday by the statistics bureau, showed slower expansion in May. The official manufacturing PMI, edged down to 50.6 in May from 50.8 in April, dropping for a second straight month.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 30, 2020 22:21 ET (02:21 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.