Jobs boost for region as business activity continues to strengthen

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Business activity in Yorkshire continued to rise in June boosted by manufacturing and services, figures showed yesterday.

The 55.5 reading showed that although the rate of growth eased from May’s 26-month high of 57.6, it was still faster than the long-run series average.

Firms linked the increase in activity to a rise in new business, which similarly rose strongly over the month.

Meanwhile, employment increased for the first time since January, and the rate of input price inflation eased to a 10-month low.

Approximately 26 per cent of surveyed firms reported an increase in output, with a number of panellists linking this to higher volumes of new business.

Martyn Kendrick, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking in Yorkshire and Humber, said: “The Yorkshire & Humber private sector continued to expand at a solid pace in June, despite the rate of growth having slowed after the 26-month peak in May.

“Further strong increases in both output levels and new orders encouraged firms to hire additional staff which led to the first rise in the index in job creation for five months.”

The number of workers placed in permanent positions across the North of England increased sharply in June, according to KPMG.

Furthermore, the pace of 
expansion accelerated to the quickest in six months and was the second fastest among all
four English regions, behind the South.

Demand for both permanent and temporary workers across the North expanded sharply during June.

Meanwhile, business confidence has reached its highest point since May 2012, according to the latest Business Trends report by accountants and business advisers BDO in Yorkshire.

BDO’s optimism index, which predicts business performance two quarters ahead, moved up for the fifth consecutive month from 93.6 to 94.3, a 13-month high.

Optimism in the services sector, which makes up roughly three quarters of the economy, is particularly strong, and moved up to 95.5 this month – above the crucial 95.0 mark that indicates growth.

BDO’s output index, which predicts short-run turnover expectations, increased for the fourth consecutive month to 94.9 in June from 94.4 in May. The index now also stands at a 13-month high and is just 0.1 away from the critical 95.0 level. The output index for manufacturers moved up significantly by 2.0 points to 95.7 this month – above the 95.0 level.

However, BDO said both the optimism and output indices remain muted. External pressures such as the eurozone volatility, belt tightening by consumers and the US Federal Reserve signalling that quantitative easing tapering is on the horizon, are likely to be weighing on businesses’ minds, it said.