North East activity growth accelerates to four-month high

The latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking PMI survey has shown a robust pace of growth for North East firms

North East private sector firms have signalled a robust and accelerated pace of business activity growth

North East private sector firms have signalled a robust and accelerated pace of business activity growth in April, despite noting a drop in the rate of new order growth.

The findings are unveiled in the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking North East PMI survey, which includes the Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors.

The index posted 59.2 in April, up from 56.6 in March, and signalled a sharp expansion of business activity. It was also the strongest expansion of output in the region in 2014 so far, and in line with the UK-wide trend.

The survey showed the rate of new order growth eased to the weakest since May 2013 and employment levels also increased at a slower pace in April, and moderately overall.

Latest data also signalled an increased amount of new work in April, which was linked by panellists to stronger demand conditions.

Staffing levels at North East private sector companies rose for the tenth month running in April.

Craig McNaughton, area director SME Banking in the North East and Cumbria, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “North East private sector firms signalled a solid start to the second quarter of the year, with activity growth in the region reaching a four-month high. Although new business growth eased to a near one-year low, it remained strong overall, and should support further increases in activity in upcoming months. Employment prospects in the North East also remained positive, with firms hiring additional staff for the tenth month running in April.”

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