Thursday 01st October 2020
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Recovery gathers pace as firms ‘move in the right direction’

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New work won by private companies in the region grew at the fastest pace in three and half years in August as firms recovered from lockdown and businesses stayed confident that they can grow output over the coming year. But job cutting increased in the region ahead of the end of the government’s furlough scheme in October.

Although the NatWest East of England business activity index fell fractionally to 56.2 in August from 56.3 in July, it pointed to a continued increase in business activity in the region as client businesses re-opened. But growth was weaker in the East than the UK average and cost restructuring and uncertainty were partly behind a steep fall in workforce numbers. The level of outstanding work in the region continued to fall whilst work-in-hand fell faster among services firms than  manufacturers.

Meanwhile, cost pressures remained strong in August partly due to higher transport and personal protection equipment costs. John Maude, NatWest Midlands & East regional board said:“Overall, latest data indicates a move in the right direction for firms in the East of England, however the severe impact of the pandemic indicates a lengthy road to recovery.”