Data published in February shows some improvement in outcomes although this trend is more marked in the south of the country and, in particular, London.
- The Lloyds TSB/Markit PMI index of private sector activity shows a rise in activity in most English regions in February although the pace of expansion fell back slightly. North East and South West were the only two regions to record a contraction while North West, East of England and South East saw the strongest performance. Encouragingly, the number of new orders – indicative of future growth – also picked up in all regions with the exception of North East and South West.
- ONS official labour market statistics reflect a mixed performance in the regions in the three months to January. While London and West Midlands enjoyed strong job creation, North East, Yorkshire & the Humber, East Midlands, South West, Northern Ireland and Wales saw marginal declines in employment in the quarter. Encouragingly, London created 71,000 jobs after a few weak quarters. Unemployment rates fell in London and East of England, but edged up in South East, despite its robust job creation, as participation increased more rapidly. North East and Northern Ireland also saw unemployment rates pick up in the quarter.
- Quarterly Regional Trade Statistics show that the value of exports fell in all regions and countries of the UK in 2012 except North East, East Midlands, West Midlands and Scotland. The number of exporters dwindled in the year to 2012q4 in all regions (apart from the North West, the East, the South West and Wales) with South East remaining the largest exporting region in the UK.
- Nationwide shows that house prices increased in all regions except for North West and Scotland in 2012q4. Northern Ireland recorded the strongest rise although this is simply a recovery from an extremely weak base. On an annual basis, house prices in the north of the country are still lower than a year ago.
- Gfk’s consumer confidence index shows a marked difference in sentiment between the south and north of the country. Sentiment in Yorkshire & the Humber, North East, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly lower than seen in London, South East and South West.
- Experian’s construction index (exc. London) for February was dragged back by a weak performance in all the regions. The exceptions were South East, South West, East Midlands and Wales which showed marginal expansion in construction activity.
For further information on regional statistics and forecasts, please contact:
Sadia Sheikh, Head of UK Regional Economics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michelle Cha, Business Development Manager (email@example.com)
Mark Orlow, Business Development Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)