Businesses in the region hired extra staff faster than the UK average for the seventh consecutive month, as firms built capacity to meet a growing demand, according to Lloyds. Tony McDonough reports
Job creation among firms in the North West reached a 23-month high in April, according to new data.
Businesses in the region hired extra staff faster than the UK average for the seventh consecutive month, as firms built capacity to meet a growing demand for their goods and services, according to the Lloyds Bank Regional PMI.
The North West PMI registered 56.5 in April, indicating strong growth in business activity that was slower than the previous month (57.5), but remained above the UK average.
Meanwhile, a weak pound, high raw material costs and wage rises caused North West firms’ input costs to grow for the 15th consecutive month, and at a faster pace than experienced at the national level.
Businesses continued to pass on these cost pressures to customers, with selling prices increasing at the fastest pace since May 2011.
Firms’ expectations about growth prospects in the year ahead stayed strong, linked to new product development and higher demand from foreign and domestic customers.
Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The sharp rise in employment and the strength of demand for goods and services are positive indicators of the region’s economic health.
“It’s reassuring to see that firms remain unshaken by continual rising costs, and that their outlook on the next year remains confident, despite the potential for significant change ahead.”