London Street

Business activity figures for March across England and Wales show that private sector output continues to grow, according to the Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

The index is formed from a regional survey and provides an advance indication of the strength of the private sector economy by tracking variables such as output, new orders, employment and prices.

Companies surveyed said that that their high levels of activity were supported by an improving domestic economic outlook, as well as increased business investment and consumer spending.

Tim Hinton, Managing Director, SME & Mid Markets Banking, Lloyds Banking Group, said:

“Businesses across England and Wales are continuing to feel the benefits of improving economic conditions. A strong rise in new orders and lower input costs appears to be supporting job creation and investment in the private sector. This ongoing trend is helping build capacity and, in turn, hopefully contributing to further growth.”

The PMI rating for England was 58.1 in March, remaining well above the 50.0 value that indicates no change, but down slightly from 58.9 in February. Although this was the lowest level for nine months, the overall level of activity growth remains strong.

By contrast, in Wales business activity rose from 59.2 in February to 60.5 in March, a higher figure than any of the English regions. The latest Welsh reading was highest ever since the survey began in January 2001.

Photo by Trey Ratcliff