Job creation boost defies Brexit fears

File photo dated 2/7/2016 of a European Union flag in front of the Palace of Westminster.
File photo dated 2/7/2016 of a European Union flag in front of the Palace of Westminster.
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Businesses in the North West made a strong start to 2017 with job creation hitting a 20-month high in 
January.

The latest figures reflect an increase in both business activity and orders, continuing the feeling that the Brexit effect has not yet hit home.

But prices are showing signs of rising – and consumers will have to pay.

The Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking North West Regional Business Activity PMI posted a reading of 58.1 in January, up from 56.6 in 
December.

Latest figures show that the North West unemployment rate remains at 11-year low of 4.8 per cent.

A rise in new orders boosted the output of goods and services, which increased at the strongest rate since October 2016.

As a result of rising workloads, businesses across the North West continued to create new jobs, with employment rising at the quickest rate since May 2015.

However, the weakness of sterling continued to put pressure on companies, with input prices rising at the sharpest rate since April 2011.

Part of this cost was passed on to consumers, with prices charged increasing at the strongest rate in more than five-and-a-half years.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Overall, with employment levels still close to record levels and unemployment continuing to fall, the latest indicators confirm that the UK jobs market remains a major bright spot for the UK economy.

“While labour market conditions could soften over the next year as economic growth slows, the high degree of flexibility in the jobs market will help limit the extent of any upturn in unemployment.

“The gap between wage and price growth is narrowing.

“If this continues, real household incomes will be squeezed further,” she 
added.