West Midlands business activity rises

West Midlands business activity rises

Firms in the West Midlands have reported the fastest rate of business activity growth since January, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional PMI.

The West Midlands PMI, or purchasing managers’ index, registered 55.6 in September, rising from 52.4 in August. The West Midlands figure was higher than the national average, with a reading of more than 50 signifying a growth in business activity.

New business in the West Midlands private sector rose for the second month running during September, increasing at the fastest rate since January. Panellists suggested improved client confidence was a key factor in boosting new work orders. 

Private sector firms in the region also expanded their workforces further, with the rate of job growth reaching a five-month high.

Input prices – which include staff wages, raw materials and other overheads - rose at the fastest pace since June 2011. Imported items were reportedly more expensive due to adverse currency movements. As a result, firms raised their prices charged for goods and services at the strongest rate since May 2011. 

 

The Lloyds Bank PMI is the leading economic health-check of UK regions. It is based on responses from manufacturers and services businesses about the value of goods and services produced during September compared with the previous month.

Mark Cadwallader, regional director for SME banking in the West Midlands, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "The West Midlands continued its bounce back from the EU referendum vote wobble, posting its strongest performance since the opening month of 2016.  

"A more upbeat mood among customers was credited with driving the latest increases in activity and new business, while companies were sufficiently encouraged to raise employment levels at the sharpest rate in five months.

"However, sterling weakness manifested itself in growing price pressures, with input and output prices both rising at the sharpest rates in more than five years."