Business activity continues to grow in North West

Business activity in the North West has increased for the sixth consecutive month, according to data from NatWest PMI.

The figures show that the region sat at 51.4 in December on a seasonally adjusted index in which 50 indicates no change, and any higher number demonstrates growth. In November, the figure was 50.7, and though modest, both of these were ahead of the UK average.

Owing in part to clients forward-purchasing goods before the end of the Brexit transition period, local manufacturers reported greater resilience in demand than their service sector counterparts.

However, the good news did not extend to private sector job figures, which fell for the eleventh month in a row. A number of surveyed businesses reported the need to make redundancies amid financial pressures. Encouragingly, however, the rate of job losses eased to the slowest since last March and was softer than the UK average.

Richard Topliss, chairman of NatWest North Regional Board, commented: “While the recovery in business activity across the North West continued into the final month of 2020, the latest PMI data showed that the rate of growth was little-changed from the modest pace seen in November during the second national lockdown.

"On a positive note, it was encouraging to see fewer job losses compared with November, despite firms being put under pressure from a sharp increase costs associated with supply issues."

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