Firms in the North West have reported increased optimism towards activity in year ahead according to NatWest’s June Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey, following a sharp decline during the coronavirus pandemic.
The New Business Index, measuring demand on businesses, showed that the rate of the fall in demand had slowed dramatically after reaching a record low during April at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. The survey revealed confidence in North West businesses, while still low, was now at its highest since lockdown began in March.
The North West region also showed the second slowest rate of decline in employment, behind only the East Midlands. While employment and other economic metrics did continue to fall, the PMI survey showed that in the North West and nationally, the slowing rate of decline suggested things were now beginning to trend in the right direction.
Richard Topliss, Chair, NatWest North Regional Board, commented:
There was more good news from the PMI survey in June showing the regional economy to be making positive progress. However, activity remains subdued particularly in the services sector where COVID 19 and associated containment measures continue to disrupt businesses and suppress demand. Job numbers were down once again during June and there will be more difficult decisions for businesses as they transition away from the furlough scheme in the coming months, but a rise in business confidence shows there’s growing light at the end of the tunnel.”