By Kantaro Komiya
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's service sector sentiment index in October rose to its highest level in nearly eight years after state-of-emergency curbs were eased last month and new COVID-19 cases slid.
The economy watchers' index advanced 13.4 points to 55.5 in October, the highest level since January 2014, the government data showed. It was the second straight month of increase and marked the biggest gain since June 2020.
The index is based on a survey of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers and restaurant staff who are called "economy watchers" for their proximity to consumer and retail trends.
The outlook index - based on the watchers' view of the economy for two to three months ahead - gained 0.9 points in October to 57.5, the highest level since November 2013.
The survey was conducted Oct. 25-31 and based on more than 1,800 responses nationwide.
(Reporting by Kentaro Sugiyama; Writing by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Edwina Gibbs)