North east takes top spot in Lloyds Bank’s UK economic growth survey

THE UK economy is picking up pace around the country, according to firms reporting that output is climbing even after 19 consecutive months of growth.

Lloyds Bank’s latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for English and Welsh businesses hit 59.8 in May, up from April’s figure and at the highest in five months.

Growth is also increasingly spreading out from the capital.

Last month, the north east of England saw the strongest expansion in the UK, according to Lloyds’ figures. The region had a PMI score of 63.5, the highest the survey has ever recorded and the first time it has been the fastest-growing part of the country since 2010.

Job creation was also at its highest level ever in the north west of England, suggesting that firms outside of the south of the country are benefiting from the recovery. Employment intentions are strong across every region.

Previously, analysts had expected that the UK’s growth might slow from its solid pace at the end of 2013, but so far the expansion has not lost momentum, and may have actually picked up pace this year.

No part of the country is in contraction, with a low score of 54 for Scotland, according to its own latest survey. London and the south east of England had scores of 60.4 and 60.8 respectively.

The reading for London has dropped slightly from previous months, nonetheless suggests robust business growth. In terms of new business growth, the capital still topped the table.

“Companies in England and Wales have been experiencing a sustained improvement in business conditions through the second quarter of the year.” said Tim Hinton of Lloyds.

He added: “Greater investment spending, resilient consumer confidence and improving underlying economic conditions are all contributing to increased private sector activity.”