Economic growth in the UK hit a six-month high last month thanks to rising demand and low unemployment, a new survey of private business activity showed.
It was closely followed by the north west and the east of England which both recorded sharp and accelerated expansion, while growth in North East England reached a 10-month high for that region.
The latest Lloyds Bank Regional Purchasing Managers’ Index is seen as an important “health check” indicator of business confidence and activity.
Factors it takes into account include employment, prices and manufacturing costs and its positive findings are at odds with claims that Brexit uncertainty is holding Britain back and every part of the UK reported growth.
Scott Barton, Managing Director of Mid-Markets at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “The fourth quarter of 2017 started positively with business activity growth accelerating across England, Scotland and Wales.
“There was also a broad-based increase in employment as firms responded to higher demand for goods and services, though the pace of job creation slowed for the second month running.”
All parts of the country recorded an increase in employment in October, most strongly in Yorkshire & Humber and in eastern England, although the overall pace of job creation dipped to a four-month low.
Mr Barton commented: “Businesses are continuing to experience rising costs and will be wary of the impact on demand as they pass these on in the form of higher charges for goods and services.”
The survey compiled by IHS Markit for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking was based on questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in over 1,200 private manufacturing and service companies selected to reflect the wider economy.