Yorkshire employment growth springs to 22-month high

Business activity and new orders continued to grow for Yorkshire & Humber firms in April, leading to the fastest increase in employment in almost two years, according to the latest research by Lloyds Bank.

Yorkshire firms hired extra staff at a quicker rate than the UK average last month to meet further growth in demand for their goods and services.

The Yorkshire & Humber PMI registered 56.8 in April, down from 57.2 in March, which shows business activity growing but at a marginally slower pace than the previous month. A reading above 50 signifies growth in business activity whereas a reading below indicates decline.

Meanwhile, inflationary pressures contributed to another month of growing input costs for firms, although the rate of increase had slowed on the previous month.

Firms continued to pass their increasing cost burden to customers, with selling prices growing at the fastest rate in almost nine years.

Local firms remain optimistic about the outlook for the next 12 months, with more businesses expecting higher levels of activity in the next year than the UK average.

The Lloyds Bank Regional PMI, or Purchasing Managers’ Index, is the leading economic health-check of the UK regions. It is based on responses from manufacturers and services businesses about the amount of goods and services produced during April compared with a month earlier.

Leigh Taylor, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “Yorkshire’s economy is on a strong footing, which should be able to withstand any uncertainty created as the UK realigns itself economically and politically in the coming months.

“While April saw another month of increased input costs, it’s reassuring to see a continued easing in the pace of inflation. With employment, business activity and new orders on the rise, firms are right to be optimistic about the months ahead.”

Karan Sejpal, regional head, North West and Yorkshire at UBS Wealth Management, commented: "Against a backdrop of political uncertainty, the Yorkshire economy has continued to go from strength to strength. Every year, at our UBS Forum, we survey clients to understand their expectations for the year ahead.

"This year, eight in 10 of those interviewed in Yorkshire felt confident about economic growth locally, and recent developments don’t appear to have dampened business optimism. Inflation remains one to watch for businesses across the UK, but is not a significant headwind for the time being.”