Output and employment growth rebounds
Stronger output growth was recorded across England and Wales in November, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index.
The index rose to 57.7, up from 56.3 in October – any reading above 50.0 represents an expansion of private sector business activity.
Employment also strengthened, while reduced raw material and transport costs contributed to lower cost pressures for companies.
Higher levels of output were recorded in all nine English regions during November, with the South East (60.3), the West Midlands (58.8) and East of England (58.6) experiencing the strongest rates of expansion.
The North West saw the slowest upturn (54.9) – the slowest pace of growth for the region since April 2013.
Meanwhile, business activity across Wales rose to 59.7 in November, up from 58.8 in October, reflecting the fastest rate of expansion in four months.
The survey also revealed strong new business growth across England and Wales, reflecting improving demand in both the manufacturing and service sectors.
As a result, private sector companies continued to boost their staffing levels with job growth strongest in the East of England (58.7) and the West Midlands (56.2).
Tim Hinton, managing director, SME & Mid Markets Banking, Lloyds Banking Group, comments: “The continued business and employment growth seen last month, in the face of economic weakness in some export markets, is a testament to the resilience of firms across England and Wales.
“The drop in costs for firms should also provide a tailwind for growth in the months ahead and help alleviate cost pressures in both the manufacturing and service sectors.”