London’s firms leading British growth spurt

Tim Wallace
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LONDON’S economy is leading Britain’s resurgence and contributing to an acceleration in job creation, Lloyds’ regional business survey shows today.

Britain’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) score held steady at 56.7 in February – a strong result, as any score over 50 represents growth.

Business activity has now been rising for 28 consecutive months, according to the survey which records the balance between firms which are growing and those which are contracting.

London’s firms are expanding the most – their PMI came in at 58.9. The score is down a touch from 59.8 in January, but still indicates a rapid period of growth.

Other regions saw growth pick up on the month, with Yorkshire’s score rise from 54.2 to 57.5, and the south east’s PMI increase from 55.8 to 57.3.

Scotland’s business activity stopped contracting, swinging from 47.7 – below the crucial 50-level – up to 50.2.

But Northern Ireland’s firms continued shrinking output, with the score creeping up from 48.8 to 48.8.

“Companies across England and Wales continued to see strong growth in February, particularly in business activity,” said Lloyds’ Tim Hinton.

“The most encouraging news was the rise in employment, with job creation in some regions hitting the highest ever rate recorded by the survey.”

“While overall cost pressures remain historically low, raw material prices have begun to rise which could place pressure on firms in the coming months.”