North East firms reported stronger growth in business activity during February, according to the latest Lloyds Banking Group PMI®.
With output levels increasing and order books filling up, new job opportunities were created, resulting in staff levels growing at their fastest rate in 17 months.
The latest PMI reading for the North East rose from 53.0 in January to 54.9 in February. A figure above 50 signifies growth of business activity, while a reading below signals contraction.
Meanwhile, the rate of inflation in businesses’ costs remained strong and continued to put pressure on firms to increase their prices.
The Lloyds Bank PMI, or purchasing managers’ index, is the leading economic health-check of UK regions. It is based on responses from manufacturers and service providers about the volume of goods and services produced during February compared with a month earlier. The North East findings are based on a range of questions posed to businesses across Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and the Tees Valley.
Leigh Taylor, regional director for the North East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “We’re two-thirds of the way through the first quarter of the year and it’s great to see North East businesses in such a positive place and growing at a rate that is above the UK average.
“With employment numbers rising at the quickest rate since September 2015, I am optimistic that the region will continue to grow, despite increasing cost burdens.”