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Regional PMI update: August 2020

A summary of this month’s Purchasing Managers’ Index reports – click through to your region below.

Last updated: 11 Sep 2020 2 min read

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In August, there was a broad-based recovery in business activity, which contrasted with further UK-wide job losses.

Sebastian Burnside, NatWest chief economist, commented: “The regional picture is continuing to improve in terms of rising business activity as more firms get back to work following the lifting of Covid-19 lockdowns. August marked the first time during the crisis that the PMIs were in growth territory across all parts of the UK, although the pace of recovery remains uneven and continues to be led by the English regions.

“The North East, South East and Yorkshire and the Humber each saw record increases in business activity, though it wasn’t all good news for the English regions as the East Midlands, East of England, South West and North West all lost a little growth momentum.

“The greatest setback was for Northern Ireland, which, while still seeing higher business activity, was dealt a fresh blow from a renewed decline in inflows of new work.

“While recoveries in output and demand are underway, this is yet to translate into any real improvement on the employment front. Even with the government furlough scheme taking some of the pressure of businesses, we’re still seeing round after round of job cuts all across the UK. The worry is what will happen once that support is withdrawn over the coming months.

“More regions are starting to see prices charged for goods and services rising again after the slump caused the sudden collapse in demand during lockdown. However, there is a distinct lack of inflationary pressures across the capital in particular, where easing wage costs have meant firms have been able to continue offering discounts.”  

Please see the regional reports in full:

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