Business conditions show further improvement
Businesses across England and Wales reported another month of solid growth in November, with output levels and employment both rising at faster rates, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The PMI for England rose to a ten-month high of 55.8 up from 54.9 in October. A reading greater than 50 signifies growth in business activity, and the greater the divergence from the 50 mark, the faster the rate of change.
At a regional level, the strongest output growth was seen in the West Midlands (58.9), while the East of England (57.1) and East Midlands (56.7) also performed better than the average. The month’s main underperformers were the North East (52.2) and Yorkshire & Humber (54.0), where rates of business activity growth were slower than in October. Business activity in Wales, meanwhile, showed the largest rise since June 2015, with its PMI having risen for the fourth month in a row to 57.3.
The increase in output seen in November was accompanied by a further rise in employment, as rates of job creation across England and Wales picked up speed, reaching the fastest level for ten and 16 months respectively. However, November also saw the continuation of strong upward pressure on businesses’ costs with the rate of increase in average prices charged for goods and services remaining close to October’s five-and-a-half year high.