Activity growth accelerates to four-month high
Activity in the West Midlands private sector has risen at the sharpest rate in four months.
The latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking West Midlands PMI report highlighted continued strong performance of the region's private economy during September.
Companies reported a modest increase in backlogs of work, while employment continued to rise at a marked pace.
The West Midlands Business Activity Index, which measures the combined output of the region's manufacturing and service sectors, posted 58.5 in September, up from 57.7 in August.
The headline index was at its highest level since May and signalled a strong rate of expansion. The region registered a faster increase in activity than the UK average. Output growth was led by the service sector, with manufacturers recording a more subdued pace of expansion.
New business growth in the West Midlands private sector remained marked in September, despite easing to the slowest in five months. Panellists commented that general demand conditions remained solid, while new product launches were reported to have led to increased new orders in some cases.
Mark Cadwallader, area director for SME banking in the Midlands, said: "The West Midlands continued to perform strongly in September, with both activity and employment growth accelerating.
"Another robust performance from the region's service sector underpinned the latest expansion, taking up the slack from a slowdown in manufacturing. New business growth weakened from the strong rates seen recently, but demand continued to be firm.
"However, competitive pressures prevented companied from recouping a further rise in input costs from customers, leading to output prices remaining unchanged last month."