Yorkshire has '˜growth advantage' over rivals

Yorkshire's private sector output increased at the quickest rate in three months during December, according to the latest NatWest PMI data.

Events such as Bradford Manufacturing Week highlight the wide range of innovative companies in the region. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The survey found that regional firms posted increases in output and new orders.

Despite this, job creation continued to slow and was the weakest since March. On the price front, output charge inflation accelerated to a 12-month high, as firms sought to offset sharply rising input costs.

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The headline NatWest Yorkshire & Humber Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures month-on-month changes in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – rose to 53.3 in December from 52.9 in November.

The latest reading was the highest recorded in three months and compared with a UK-wide figure of 51.4. By sector, December saw increases in activity at both manufacturers and service providers.

New business has risen on a monthly basis for almost two-and-a-half years, with the latest increase the fastest since last September, according to the survey.

A spokesman said: “With demand for the region’s goods and services continuing to rise, firms in Yorkshire and the Humber expanded capacity by taking on additional staff.

“However, employment growth was the weakest since last March. Some panellists stated that they had increased headcounts in anticipation of a pick-up in customer demand in 2019. “

Richard Topliss, chairman, NatWest North Regional Board, commented:“Businesses operating in Yorkshire and the Humber maintained a growth advantage over the rest of the UK during December.

“The latest PMI report showed the region’s private sector output rising at the quickest rate in three months, underpinned by strong demand for goods and services.

“Moreover, the upturn continued to translate into new jobs, with December marking the 28th month of employment growth in Yorkshire and the Humber. That said, the rate of workforce expansion eased to its slowest since last March. One of the main causes for concern was the presence of sustained cost pressures facing businesses.”