Rise in new work boosts output

According to the Lloyds TSB Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index, February saw output improve across nine English regions. 

Seven regions actually recorded growth while the North East and South West saw output fall. The seasonally adjusted index of activity in England was 51.1, the fourth consecutive month the figure stayed over the no-change mark of 50 – albeit, the rise was at a slower pace than the January figure of 51.6, the four month high.

Encouraging signs arose from a rise in new orders, yet cost burdens grew in February with six of the nine regions recording bigger rises in input costs than in January. This was partly due to increasing pressure from rising fuel and utility bills. However, staffing levels remained resilient except in the South West and Yorkshire & Humber, both of which reported lower employment levels in February.

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