East Midlands businesses have reported increased momentum in orders in September, despite a period of economic uncertainty following the EU Referendum result, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Regional PMI.
The East Midlands PMI registered 53.9 in September, down slightly from 54.2 in August. A reading of above 50 signifies growth in business activity, and the greater the divergence from the 50 mark, the faster the rate of change.
New product launches, improved UK sales, successes in winning new clients and business, and competitive pricing all helped drive growth for companies during September.
As a result, East Midlands firms hired more staff to help to meet these demands, albeit at a modest rate and slower than the UK average.
Input prices – which include staff wages, raw materials and other overheads – rose at the sharpest rate in over five years, meaning firms’ profit margins continued to be suppressed.
The Lloyds Bank PMI, or purchasing managers’ index, is based on responses from manufacturers and services businesses about the value of goods and services produced during September compared with the previous month.
Kelly Green, regional director for SME Banking in the East Midlands, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “This data suggest the upturn in the East Midlands region remains robust.
“Output growth eased slightly, but new orders increased at the quickest rate in three months. Higher workplace activity also encouraged firms in the region to take on additional workers.
“The rate of job creation remained weak, however, as firms reported the sharpest rise in average costs in over five years, linked to sterling’s depreciation”.