Yorkshire employment growth at two-and-a-half year high

Yorkshire employment growth at two-and-a-half year high

Businesses in Yorkshire & the Humber created jobs at the fastest pace in two-and-a-half years during September, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional PMI report.

The region’s expansion in business activity was the second-fastest out of all 12 monitored UK regions last month, coming closely behind Wales, as firms built capacity to meet increased demand for goods and services.

The Yorkshire & Humber PMI registered at 55.9 in September showing a strong increase in business activity, although the pace of growth had slowed from August – which saw a figure of 58.1.

A reading above 50 shows growth in output, whereas a reading below indicates decline.

Local businesses experienced a rise in new orders that was faster than the UK average.

Despite firms taking on new staff to satisfy new orders, stronger demand led to businesses’ work backlogs increasing.

Meanwhile, firms’ costs, including fuel, raw materials and salaries, increased at a faster pace than anywhere else in the UK.

Cost burdens were partly passed on to clients through higher prices charged for goods and services.

Business confidence towards the year ahead weakened slightly in September, although Yorkshire firms remained positive in their outlook and were more optimistic than the UK average.

The Lloyds Bank Regional PMI, or Purchasing Managers’ Index, is an economic health-check of the UK regions.

It’s based on responses from manufacturers and services businesses about the amount of goods and services produced during September compared with a month earlier.

Leigh Taylor, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “September was another positive month for Yorkshire & Humber from the point of view of both local businesses and households.

“Activity among the region’s manufacturers and service providers rose at one of the fastest rates seen anywhere in the UK, buoyed by growing customer bases.

“To support this extra activity, businesses raised employment to the greatest extent in two-and-a-half years. The main negative takeaway was resurgent inflationary pressures, which threaten to squeeze company margins and household budgets.

“As we enter the final quarter of 2017, businesses in the consumer goods and hospitality sectors will need to ensure they have the working capital necessary to take advantage of higher demand from events like Black Friday, Christmas and New Year. 

“Last month, our Working Capital Index revealed that Yorkshire businesses have £60.5bn tied up in excess working capital, which includes assets like stock and invoices. Cash that’s tied up in working capital can be released and invested in growing a firm’s workforce to reduce order backlogs and to build capacity for new opportunities.”