Lloyds PMI reveals rise in UK business activity

Retail banking company Lloyds Bank released its latest Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) on Monday, which indicates that UK output is rising at a faster rate compared to the pace of job creation, which slowed in November this year.

Business activity grew across all regions in England during November, led by the Eastern region. There was also a solid expansion in Wales. The business activity index for England’s combined manufacturing and service sectors was recorded as 56.0, the highest level for four months and up from 55.5 recorded in October 2015. This signals positive growth from the 29 month low in September.

Overall growth in business activity rose the fastest in the East of England and in London, where strong inflows of new business are said to have fuelled robust rates of expansion. The North East returned to growth from a decline in October. But along with the North West, both areas underperformed compared to the national average.

In Wales, business activity continued to rise and was recorded at 55.1, which was slightly less than the October rate of 55.4. However there was acceleration in new business growth, which achieved the fastest rate in five months.

Lower global commodity prices have resulted in lower cost pressures and output charges were unchanged during November 2015, Lloyds latest survey data also showed.

According to Lloyds Bank, its PMI pointed to a slower growth in employment in Wales and most English regions; however employment increased across most regions, despite the pace of job creation easing. The only exception was the North East, where job losses were recorded for the first time in over twelve months.

Gareth Oakley, Managing Director, SME Banking, Lloyds Banking Group commented: “The latest rise in the index is encouraging to see as it recovers further from its recent low in September. Although we have seen various challenges in 2015, the UK economy is on course for a robust final quarter, consistent with positive growth across the year.

“An increasingly tight labour market has meant that job creation slowed in November but businesses have continued to raise employment levels month after month.

“There is no doubt that the global economic conditions are causing concern, but with lower commodity prices helping to counter rising wages, businesses should continue to look for investment opportunities as they prepare for 2016.”