Tuesday 21st January 2020
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Firms speed up recruitment as outlook for 2020 brightens

Business sentiment jumped to its highest level in 20 months in the region in December as the outlook for activity in the year ahead improved and the rate of new job creation quickened, according to a key survey of purchasing managers.

The East of England PMI showed business expectations strengthening to the joint-highest since April 2018 and workforce numbers continuing to rise. Firms linked their optimism to reduced uncertainty and hopes of improved demand and higher sales. The NatWest future business activity index rose from 59.3 in November to 66.7 in December. However the survey showed business activity fell fractionally in December as new orders declined for the third month running and firms focused on tackling backlogs of work. A 'fractional uptick' in service sector activity contrasted with a fall in manufacturing output.

John Maude, NatWest Midlands & East regional board, said: “December data did highlight some tentative signs of a recovery...with private sector firms recording back-to-back jobs growth and improved output expectations.” Nationally, order book volumes rose for the first time in five months and the rate of charge inflation was the fastest for five months although it remained modest.


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