Yorkshire and Humber economy comes bottom in business activity index

Business activity in Yorkshire and Humber slumped further in March to become the worst performing area of the UK, a business survey suggests.

The NatWest Yorkshire & Humber PMI Business Activity Index, which measures month-on-month change in the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – dropped from a score of 48.3 to 46.9 in March. That was the second successive month of decline and marked Yorkshire and Humber as the worst performing of the UK’s nations and regions.

The amount of new business secured by regional companied continued to decrease in March, with that trend in contrast to a recovery in most other parts of the country. Export orders grew, however, and business confidence remained in positive territory.

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Input charges fell in March but remain above the no-change mark, and many companies in the region passed on those costs to their customers. The local rate of output price inflation was said to te “strong overall” but has eased slightly since February and was below the national average, the survey found.

Malcolm Buchanan, chair of the NatWest North Regional Board, said: “The latest survey data mark a particularly grim end to the first quarter of 2024 for the Yorkshire & Humber economy, being the only part of the UK where business activity shrank in March. Order books and employment are key reasons for this, with both declining once again.

“That said, despite a disappointing month, this has not served to knock business confidence, which remains at a strong level. This should provide some assurance that these weak figures are temporary, and activity and demand indicators should hopefully pick up as we move towards the summer.”

The survey comes just a few days after the quarterly economic survey from the Humber and Hull Chamber of Commerce reported a similarly downbeat picture. That report highlighted a drop in the proportion of companies investing in plant, machinery and training, as well as concerns over recruitment and cashflow.

Further insights into the region’s economic health will come this week as official figures are released on inflation and regional unemployment.

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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