May data from the NatWest PMI revealed a modest upturn in business activity across the private sector economy, suggesting a sustained recovery from the weather-related disruptions seen earlier in 2018.
Employment numbers have remained largely unchanged, with rising input costs and a lack of pressure on operating capacity the main factors holding back staff hiring.
The NatWest North East Business Activity Index – an index that measures changes in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – registered 51.8 in May, up from 50.4 in April and the highest reading for four months.
Sector data suggested that rising manufacturing production in the North East helped to offset subdued service sector business activity.
In contrast to the stronger trend recorded for business activity, the data showed a fall in new work received by North East companies.