Tuesday 26th March 2019
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Businesses stay confident although growth set to slow in coming months

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Private business activity continued to grow strongly in the East of England in July with confidence reaching a three-month high but new job creation slowed as new business growth slowed, according to a key survey of purchasing managers.

The latest regional PMI data also shows cost inflation picked up sharply in July, with firms passing it on in higher prices. The NatWest East of England business activity index, was unchanged at 55.7 in July, well above the 50 level which signals growth, with ‘robust expansion’ in both manufacturing and services. Although new business growth eased to a three-month low in July, the latest increase in order books was still “solid overall” but work backlogs fell for the second time in three months. Good weather conditions and new project wins boosted sentiment in July, which is traditionally an optimistic month. But jobs growth in the region was the slowest in five years as firms pointed to difficulties in recruiting new staff.

John Maude of NatWest Midlands & East regional board said : “July data signalled another considerable improvement in business conditions in the East of England’s private sector, adding to the string of strong expansions seen since May….. That said, the latest data revealed the lowest rate of job creation in over five years amid shortages of skilled staff, which alongside softer new order growth provided signs that growth could ease in the coming months”