Yorkshire firms record sharpest growth in activity for 23 years

YORKSHIRE recorded its sharpest expansion in business activity in more than 23 years during August, according to a new study.

Richard Topliss

The historic rise was supported by marked expansion at both manufacturing and service providers.

The headline NatWest Yorkshire & Humber Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – registered 64.6 in August, up from 59.7 in July.

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The latest reading pointed to the sharpest expansion in Yorkshire and Humber business activity since data collection began in January 1997.

Richard Topliss, Chair, NatWest North Regional Board, commented: “The Yorkshire and Humber private sector grew at an unprecedented rate during August, in a sign that the region is well on its way to a recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

"New business increased at the quickest pace for two-and-a-half years as more firms reopened following temporary closures.”

New business secured by private sector firms in Yorkshire and Humber continued to rise markedly in August.

At the sub-sector level, the result was predominantly driven by a marked increase in demand at manufacturing firms.

However, private sector employment continued to fall in August, according to the survey.

The survey report said: "Although still softer than at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, the rate of workforce contraction accelerated for the second month in a row and was historically marked. When explaining job cuts, some panellists mentioned restructuring their business models amid the COVID-19 crisis."