Business records top quarter for growth in 12 years as 2013 ends

THE LAST quarter of 2013 saw the biggest jump in business activity recorded in over a decade, as a major survey of firms suggested that the economic climate has warmed across the country.

Lloyds Bank’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for England and Wales hit 60 in December, with a score over 50 indicating an improvement in conditions for growth. Even Yorkshire, the region with the lowest score, had a reading of 55.8.

The growth reported to Lloyds in the final three months of last year is the best since the survey began in 2001, highlighting the rapid change in conditions for firms during the second half of 2013.

The north east of England posted the best growth in 49-months in December, while the south west and west midlands were at their highest on record. Positive news on job growth also hints that unemployment rate will continue to fall in 2014.

Recruitment is most robust in the south of England, with the employment part of the index in the south west at the highest level on record, and plans to hire from firms in the south east and London.