TOKYO, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Sentiment in Japan's service sector rose in July following two successive months of decline, the Cabinet Office said in its monthly Economy Watchers Survey released Monday.
According to the survey data for the recording month, the index for current conditions rose to 49.8 from 47.5 a month earlier, beating economists' expectations for a reading of 48 and equaling a three-year high logged in April.
A score of more than 50 means people surveyed in Japan's service sector view business conditions in a positive light. Conversely, a number below figure indicates a pessimistic view.
The survey's overall outlook index, which gauges the level of confidence in future conditions two to three months ahead, fell to 46.6 from June's reading of 48.3 -- below economists' forecasts for a rise to 48.8.
The Cabinet Office maintains that whilst the economy remains in a tough condition there are signs it is "improving."
The Economy Watchers Survey asks business-cycle sensitive workers their thoughts on existing and future economic conditions, to provide the government with a detailed picture of economic trends in Japan.
Segments of the economy surveyed include sectors such as retail, restaurant service, and taxi driving and the monthly report serves as both a consumer confidence indicator and a leading indicator for the rest of the economy.
The Cabinet Office started compiling the data in comparative form in August 2001.