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Growth momentum recovers in January

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The latest data from Lloyds Bank Yorkshire & Humber PMI® signalled a strong private sector expansion in January, supported by sharp employment growth and a solid increase in new orders.

This was the fifteenth successive month in which output rose, and the rate of growth accelerated from December’s six-month low.

The headline Lloyds Bank Yorkshire & Humber Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – rose from December’s six-month low of 55.8, to 57.6 in January, the first increase in the Index since September 2013.

A number of respondents attributed the latest output growth to improving economic conditions.

New business rose for the 18 month running in January, and though the pace of expansion eased for the third month running, it nevertheless remained solid.

Manufacturers saw a sharper increase in new orders than service providers.

Employment at Yorkshire & Humber private sector firms grew for the eighth successive month in January, and the pace of expansion accelerated to a two year high.

Meanwhile, business outstanding increased for the first time since October, and at a relatively solid pace. However, the rate of expansion in backlogs of work across the UK as a whole surpassed that seen in Yorkshire & Humber.

Average input prices increased for the seventeenth consecutive month in January, and at a solid pace.

Respondents attributed the latest cost inflation to higher raw material prices and using staff salaries.

Prices charged by Yorkshire & Humber private sector businesses increased for the ninth month running in January.

A number of firms stated that the latest rise was in part a result of higher average costs. At the sector level, the sharpest expansion in prices charged was seen at manufacturers.

Commenting on the Lloyds Bank Yorkshire & Humber PMI survey, Martyn Kendrick, area director SME Banking in Yorkshire, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:

“The latest survey revealed a further sharp expansion in the private sector across Yorkshire & Humber in January.

“Backlogs of work increased for the first time since October, with the strongest growth seen in five months, whilst business activity growth strengthened from December, suggesting a recovery of the growth momentum seen during the latter half of 2013.”

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