Output growth subdued in May
Output growth remained subdued across England and Wales in May, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index. The weakness reflected a deteriorating trend in the flow of incoming new work, with job creation slowing as a result.
The business activity index for England – which tracks changes in the combined output of the manufacturing and service sectors – registered 53.3 in May, up from April’s 37-month low of 52.1, but still one of the slowest rises in output over the past three years.
Business activity rose across eight of the nine English regions monitored by the survey, led by the East Midlands (55.4) and Yorkshire & Humber (55.1). However four regions recorded slower growth, and output fell in the North East (48.5) for the third month running and at the fastest rate since March 2013.
On the employment front, May saw the pace of job creation slow across England to the lowest for three years amid reports of the National Living Wage impacting on hiring. Staffing levels were broadly unchanged in the South East, while Yorkshire & Humber saw a further decline. Wales, on the other hand, recorded the strongest rise in employment in five months, albeit moderate.