High Street bank, NatWest, has reported that the North West economy continues to grow following the pandemic according to responses from its August Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) survey.
Despite the continued rise in business activity in the region, the bank noted that the rate of economic growth had now slowed, after reaching record highs in June when coronavirus restrictions began to be eased in earnest.
The latest data reported a North West Business Activity Index of 55.3 for August, firmly in growth territory (a figure of 50 indicates zero change in output on the previous period), with firms in the region reporting a net inflow on new business and confidence for continued future activity.
Employment growth also continued to rise at its fastest rate in seven years. Business confidence shared by firms in the North West also showed the region to be more optimistic than the national average and remained high.
Commenting on the latest data from businesses in the North West, Richard Topliss, chairman of NatWest North Regional Board, said:
The strong post-lockdown rebound we saw during the spring and early summer has started to fade, but we can still be encouraged by the fact that business activity continues to rise at a solid rate across the North West.
“Furthermore, employment in the region is rising rapidly as many businesses take on more staff to cope with stronger demand, with employment growth reaching the fastest for more than seven years in August.
“Firms remain in confident mood, and that’s despite them coming under increasing pressure from rising costs.
“The rate of increase in firms’ operating expenses seen in August was unsurpassed in the survey’s history, reflecting widespread imbalances in supply chains and rising personnel costs.”
NatWest’s full UK Regional PMI Survey results are available to read online.