Mark Cadwallader, regional director for SME banking in the West Midlands
Firms in the West Midlands saw business activity increase at a faster pace than any other region in August, according to the Lloyds Bank UK Regional PMI® survey.
The latest West Midlands Business Activity PMI rose to 58.6 in August from 56.7 in July. A reading above 50.0 signifies expansion in business activity, while a reading below 50.0 signals contraction.
The boost to the output of goods and services was attributed to a steep rise in new orders, which gathered momentum in August and caused businesses to expand their workforces to keep up with the demand.
Businesses in the West Midlands showed the fastest rate of job creation the region has seen for almost two-and-a-half years.
However, many highlighted salary pressures, along with increased raw material prices, as contributing to the higher input costs they were facing.
Despite this, West Midlands businesses showed a growing confidence in their prospects for future expansion, after optimism had reached an 11-month low in June.
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 amount of goods and services produced during August compared with the previous month.
Mark Cadwallader, regional director for SME banking in the West Midlands at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The latest data highlights another strong performance for businesses in the West Midlands, supported by another marked robust rise in new business which encouraged firms to further add to their staffing staff numbers.
“In each instance, the rates of growth were the highest of any region in the country. It’s encouraging to see greater job opportunities for the many skilled workers in the region.”
The West Midlands PMI features original survey data collected from a representative panel of companies based in the West Midlands and operating in both manufacturing and service sectors.
The survey forms part of a series of regional surveys published by IHS Markit and is derived from the highly regarded national PMI surveys produced by IHS Markit for the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.