Firms in Yorkshire and the Humber created jobs at a faster pace than anywhere else in the UK during October, according to a new report.
Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report found that businesses in the region took on additional staff at the quickest rate of all monitored regions for the fourth time in six months, as firms built capacity to satisfy growing demand for their goods and services.
The Yorkshire and Humber PMI rose to 57.0 in October, up from September’s reading of 55.9 and showing a strong increase in business activity.
A reading above 50 shows growth in the total value of goods and services produced, whereas a reading below indicates decline.
Yorkshire firms were the most confident out of all UK regions towards the year ahead, with optimism growing from September due to new export opportunities, new products and capacity expansions.
Meanwhile, firms experienced another rise in input costs, which include utilities, salaries, rents and other overheads. This was linked to the weak pound, rising fuel prices and shortages of raw materials.
Businesses passed this increase in input costs on to customers in the form of higher selling prices, which rose at the fastest rate in six months.
The Lloyds Bank Regional PMI creates an economic health-check of the UK regions. It’s based on responses from manufacturers and services businesses about the amount of goods and services produced during October compared with a month earlier.
Leigh Taylor, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Yorkshire and the Humber remained one of the UK’s brightest spots for economic performance in October.
“The region experienced one of the fastest rises in employment over the past two-and-a-half years, as local businesses responded to rising backlogs of work and higher demand.
“However, the region’s businesses were also the hardest hit by rising costs, which resulted in another sharp increase in prices charged to customers.
“They will be watching the upcoming Autumn Statement closely for announcements on initiatives that may help to ease their cost burdens.”
The figures came as a separate report today warns that pressure at work, financial worries and concerns about health are leaving Britain in the grip of a stress “epidemic”.
A survey of 4,000 adults by insurance giant Axa found that four out of five felt stressed during a typical week, while almost one in 10 were stressed all the time.
Cardiff was said to be the most stressed city, followed by Belfast, Sheffield, London and Leeds.
Workplace stress was linked to the “always on” culture, with most people taking calls or checking emails in the evenings and at weekends.
More than two out of three were worried about their salary prospects, while almost as many were concerned about paying household bills.
Men were more likely to be stressed about work, the study revealed.
Many of those questioned said they watch TV, listen to music, read a book, exercise or drink alcohol to help combat stress.
Dr Mark Winwood, clinical director - psychological Health Axa, said: “These findings illustrate the worrying scale of the UK’s stress epidemic, occurring both in the workplace and at home, impacting people up and down the country.”
He added: “It is encouraging to see a third of people exercising as a way to combat their stress, which is obviously a much healthier way of unwinding than smoking or drinking.
“Physical activity is proven to have a positive impact on mental health, even if it is just a walk around the block instead of a trip to the gym.”