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Service sector pushes region's growth ahead

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Growth at East of England private companies rose at the fastest rate in four months in January , according to a purchasing managers’ survey. Driven by the services sector, employment levels rose at the sharpest rate in eight months, whilst the rate of inflation eased.

The headline seasonally adjusted Lloyds TSB East of England business activity index – measuring manufacturing and services – posted 50.9 in January, up from 50.8 in December and above the neutral 50.0 mark.

New business at private firms in the region continued to increase moderately during January, helped by  new work linked to the launch of new projects. But growth in the region remained below the UK average.

Employment levels rose at the sharpest rate in eight months and at a faster pace than the UK average.   Job cuts in manufacturing were offset by extra hiring in the services sector. Work-in-hand rose for the first time since June 2011, mainly amongst services firms. But higher raw material prices and increased wages, meant input costs continued to rise during January.

Steve Elsom, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial Banking in East Anglia, said: “Private sector companies across the East of England saw another increase in business activity at the beginning of 2013. While this was the second successive monthly rise for the region, the pace of expansion was slightly slower than the UK average.”

Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:54 )