West Midlands leading England’s private sector growth

Monday, 14 May 2012 07:40

By Kay Carson

The West Midlands is still England’s fastest growing region, even outstripping London, figures published today reveal.

According to the Lloyds TSB regional purchasing managers’ index (PMI), the region’s private sector economy continued to expand in April, indexing at 56.3, down from 60.0 the previous month.

London was close behind with a PMI of 54.2, down from 58.2 in March.

Across England, the national PMI slowed from 55.3 to 52.6, the lowest since November 2011, but still above the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

The South West and North West moved close to stagnation, hovering just above 50, while the North East remained the only region with falling output, although its PMI of 48.7 was slightly better than 48.1 last month.

Private sector employment rose in seven of the nine English regions, but cautious hiring policies meant that the pace of job creation generally remained only marginal, especially among manufacturing companies, the report said.

Meanwhile in Wales, a manufacturing-led upturn in business activity meant that the private sector overall outperformed the wider UK economy for the first time in eight months, recording the first increase in new work since March 2011.

John Maltby, group director at Lloyds TSB Commercial, said there were some positive figures for firms to take into the summer months, not least the continued upturn in new business receipts and the general resilience of private sector labour market conditions.

“The latest data also showed signs of a moderation in cost pressures throughout the English regions, which will give businesses extra breathing space in their efforts to improve efficiency, while also supporting investment and job creation in the long term,” he added.

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