Economy rebounds in August across England and Wales
Returning confidence and a boost to export business from a weak pound were some of the factors behind the revival.
The Lloyds Bank Regional PMI, or Purchasing Managers’ Index, is the leading economic health-check of regions across England and Wales. It is based on responses from businesses in the manufacturing and service sectors about the value of goods and services produced during August compared with a month earlier.
England’s PMI climbed strongly to 53.7 in August, up from July’s seven-year low of 47.4. A reading above 50 signifies expansion, while a reading below signals contraction. The greater the divergence from the 50 mark, the faster the rate of change.
All nine English regions monitored by the survey saw increases in business activity, with the strongest growth recorded in the North West (55.7), the South West (55.5) and the South East (54.3).
Businesses in Wales also reported a strong upturn in output, as shown by the PMI improving to a five-month high of 54.9 in August from 49.9 in July.
After falling in July for the first time in over three-and-a-half years, employment returned to growth in August. However the extent to which workforce numbers increased was only slight.
A weak pound contributed to the strongest rise in businesses’ input costs for five years, in turn leading to an increase in average prices charged for goods and services. ■