North West firms make ‘positive start’ to Q2

Firms across the North West have made a ‘positive start’ to the second quarter of 2023, according to new data from NatWest

Warehouse, factory, business, manufacturing, economy
Firms in the North West have made a positive start to Q2, says NatWest


North West firms made a positive start to the second quarter, the latest UK Regional PMI survey from NatWest showed, recording a strong rate of business activity growth.

Firms also saw a faster rise in employment and, on the price front, local businesses recorded a sharp and slightly accelerated increase in average prices charged for goods and services, despite signs of easing cost pressures.

The headline North West PMI Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – registered above the 50 no-change mark for a third straight month in April.

And at 53.5, up from March’s 50.7, the latest reading signalled the strongest rate of growth for a year.

April survey data showed a third straight monthly increase in new business across the North West. Despite picking up slightly from March, the rate of growth remained only modest and was noticeably slower than the UK-wide average.

The increase in new work in the North West was driven exclusively by the region’s service sector, with local manufacturers recording a sustained downturn in demand.

Firms operating in the North West remain optimistic about the year-ahead outlook for activity in April. Expectations edged up slightly from the previous survey period and were broadly in line with the national average.

Where an increase in business activity was anticipated, firms cited plans for new investments, expansions of product ranges and greater marketing activity.

The rate of job creation across the North West private sector accelerated at the start of the second quarter, after coming close to stalling in March.

Latest data signalled a solid rise in employment that was the most marked since September last year. Even so, the pace of employment growth was weaker than that seen across the UK as a whole.

READ MORE: Developer completes 152,285 sq ft industrial scheme

READ MORE: Cammell Laird converts £70m MoD support vessel

Malcolm Buchanan, chair of the NatWest north regional board, said: “The North West economy showed renewed vigour at the start of the second quarter, recording the fastest growth in business activity for a year as well as an uptick in the rate of job creation.

“Business confidence has recovered strongly from the low levels seen late last year, moving slightly further above the long-run average in April, in a sign of resilience among the region’s firms.

“At the same time, however, the survey points to sticky inflationary pressures, with businesses recording another steep rise in average prices charged for goods and services, and at a quicker rate than the month before.”

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Username field is empty.