Positive signs for the West Midlands

Positive signs for the West Midlands

The West Midlands has got off to a strong start in 2016 as output and employment were both on the rise in January, according to new research.

The latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking West Midlands PMI report showed that output growth accelerated at the start of the year to 58.7 – up from 54.7 in December.

Underpinning the increase in activity was a rise in new business at the region’s private sector companies. The rise in new orders was the 39th in consecutive months and sharper than in December.

West Midlands private sector firms also continued to add to staffing levels in January, reflective of the region’s buoyant economy.

Mark Cadwallader, area director for SME banking in the Midlands, said: “The West Midlands started 2016 with a bang, with output growth accelerating to a nine-month high.

“Indeed, the region was the best performer across the entire UK. Strong new business growth continued to support the expansion, led by demand in the service sector.”

Nevertheless, firms continued to run down their backlogs of work, while employment growth eased to a four-month low.