North West firms keep hiring despite slowdown in business activity
Data from the latest Lloyds Bank PMI report says a rise in new orders means companies need more people but adds that higher input prices are pushing up costs. Tony McDonough reports
Firms across the North West are continuing to hire new staff despite business activity slowing for the third month in a row, new data shows.
The latest Lloyds Bank PMI report saw activity register 53.8 in June. This was in line with the UK average but down slightly from 54.3 in May.
A reading above 50 shows growth, whereas a reading below indicates contraction.
However due to a rise in new orders companies are still having to take on new staff.
Input costs continued to put pressure on firms, the data revealed, as the weak pound inflated prices of raw materials.
Increased cost burdens were partly passed on to clients through higher prices charged for goods and services.
Confidence among businesses remained positive, although the level of optimism fell to its lowest since December 2012.
Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While the pace of expansion in output and new orders is slowing, the North West economy continues to grow and remains robust.
“It’s good to see that businesses are still largely optimistic in their outlook, however the drop of confidence seen in June may reflect the uncertainty caused by the snap election.
“Nevertheless, firms are reporting demand from both domestic and foreign markets and should remain confident.”