‘Solid’ growth for East Mids economy, says Lloyds

Jon Pulford

Business activity growth in the East Midlands private sector was solid and little-changed from April’s three-month high in May, according to an influential monthly report.

Lloyds Bank East Midlands Business Activity Index says that this was down to a faster expansion in new orders, which rose at the quickest pace since January. As a result, firms hired additional workers and at a stronger rate than the UK average.

Meanwhile, input prices increased at the fastest rate since March 2014, leading to the sharpest rise in charges in over a year.

Supporting the overall increase in output was a faster rise in new orders. In fact, new business expanded at the sharpest rate since January.

Private sector firms hired additional workers in May. Although moderate, the rate of job creation was stronger than seen across the UK as a whole.

Sharper growth of activity compared to new business and a further increase in payroll numbers meant less pressure was placed on capacity. Subsequently, firms were able to clear unfinished business for the first time in four months.

Jon Pulford, regional director, SME Banking, East Midlands, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Robust activity growth was recorded in the East Midlands private sector during May, helped by the fastest increase in new orders since January. Firms hired additional workers, highlighting optimism towards the outlook for activity, however they faced the sharpest rise in cost burdens for over two years amid ongoing effects from the National Living Wage as well as greater imported raw material prices.”

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