The services sector in Japan continued to contract in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Wednesday with a services PMI score of 46.3.
That's up from 46.1 in January, although it remains beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Individually, output and new orders contracted, although employment levels rose for the first time in a year.
Business optimism hit its highest mark since 2018 as firms cited hopes that the pandemic would recede and trigger a broad recovery in demand from the domestic and foreign markets.
The survey also showed that the composite index rose from 47.1 to 48.2 in February.