North West business activity rising fast
Business activity in the North West is accelerating, according to a study from Lloyds Bank.
Activity in the local region is shown to have hit a six-month high in March of this year, in the latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking North West PMI survey, supported by a marked increase in new work intakes and a solid rise in employment.
On the price front, input prices continued to fall for the fourth straight month, while charges increased, albeit at a fractional rate.
The study also shows that firms hired extra staff in March.
At 56.7 in March, the seasonally adjusted Lloyds Bank iIndex posted its highest reading in six months.
New contract wins along with the launching of new products and greater sales, has led to the latest expansion according to panellists.
Further increases in both the manufacturing and service sectors was shown by higher business activity but the recent figure pointed to slower activity growth than the UK average.
With further expansions in both activity and new orders, private sector firms in the North West region hired additional staff in March.
Despite slowing from the previous month, the rate of employment growth was solid overall.
Martyn Kendrick, area director for SME banking in the North West at Lloyds, said:
“Private sector business activity in the North West grew at its strongest since September 2014 in March.
“This was supported by a marked increase in new work and solid employment growth. Several respondents linked a rise in new orders to greater demand from both the domestic and international markets, while others commented on new project developments and improved marketing strategies.
“On the price front, average input costs declined for the fourth straight month, as reports of a favourable euro/pound exchange rate drove down imported raw material costs.”