Business Biscuit reports that firms in the South West enjoyed a month of solid growth during July, with employment rising at the fastest rate in 18 months, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Regional PMI survey.

The increase in job creation underlined an overall improvement in the region’s economic performance, with local firms seeing growth in new business orders and output levels. The South West PMI rose to 54.0 in July, up from 52.6 in June. A reading greater than 50.0 signifies growth in business activity, whereas below 50 indicates a decline.

Data for July also showed another rise in input costs – including raw materials, salaries, rent and other overheads – partly due to the weak pound and rising pay. This caused firms to pass on some of their cost burden to customers by upping selling prices for goods and services.

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