Rise in orders and staff boosts North West business activity

Latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index reveals business activity is at its highest level since the spring. Tony McDonough reports

North West firms saw a surge in orders over the summer, the survey says

 

A surge in orders saw business activity reach its highest level since April in August with employee numbers at their highest level for more than two years.

The latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index registered 55.1 in August – up from July’s reading of 54.7 and stronger than the UK average of 54.

The index is based on responses from manufacturing and services businesses about the amount of goods and services produced during August compared with a month earlier.

Workforce numbers at North West firms grew strongly in August, rising at the joint-fastest pace since May 2015. The rise in staffing levels was driven by an upturn in new business.

On the price front, local firms reported the weakest rise in input costs for three months. That said, cost pressures remained steep overall, which can be attributed to higher prices paid for imported raw materials due to the weakness of the pound.

Average charges for goods and services also continued to rise as increased costs were passed on to clients.

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said:“The latest upturn in business activity in the North West was strong, with the rate of growth reaching a four-month high.

“The region also performed well on a national level, with output and new business growing faster than the UK average. In line with solid increases in workloads, staffing levels rose at the joint-fastest pace since May 2015.”

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