16 May 2019
The West Midlands experienced the fastest rise in employment out of all UK regions in April, according to a report from Natwest.
Natwest's Purchasing Managers’ Index, a monthly snapshot of the health of regional economies across the UK, has found that firms in the West Midlands are hiring additional staff to meet high workloads and in anticipation of growth.
Firms in the manufacturing and service sector surveyed both made solid contributions to the overall rise in employment seen in the region’s private sector – the steepest seen among all 12 regions monitored by the survey.
Confidence towards future output was at a 16-month high in April, having rebounded further from a series-record low last October.
The survey showed a reduction in anxiety towards Brexit, with more firms now expecting business activity to rise over the coming 12 months alongside business activity growth reaching a 17 month high.
However firms in the survey also reported that their demand remained sluggish and input costs faced by businesses in the West Midlands showed the steepest rise for four months.
The headline West Midlands Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – registered 52.6 in April, up from 50.9 in March.
A breakdown of the data by sector showed that growth was centred on manufacturing, where there were reports from surveyed businesses that output was once again supported by pre-Brexit stockpiling.
To find the full report visit https://natwestbusinesshub.com/content/regional-pmi-update-april-2019