THE West Midlands has outperformed all other UK regions according to the latest regional survey for Lloyds Bank, with private sector enterprises recording output growth at its strongest for 20-months.

Buoyed by new business orders, and although work backlogs are rising, this has contributed to increased recruitment. The Lloyds Bank Purchasing Managers' Index, produced by IHS Markit, shows the pattern of growth was balanced across manufacturing and services sectors, and attributed to stronger confidence levels amongst customers and clients.

The reports says the robust rate of expansion was leading to many respondents reporting some capacity constraints. As a result, if demand continues at this pace into the New Year, access to capital financing for investment, as well as additional labour resources in an already tightening market, will be critical to sustaining momentum. Notwithstanding widespread earlier pessimistic commentary on the likely impact of Brexit, the revival of manufacturing continued for a fourth consecutive month to November, the construction sector recorded a rebound in the same month after faltering performance in the third quarter, while services performance accelerated.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: "The vibrancy and strengths of the local economy are once again demonstrated by the latest West Midlands PMI release, not only is growth robust across all sectors, but the pace is the strongest for 20 months and fastest in UK. The rapid depreciation of £ now appears to have stabilised, and the competitiveness provided by this new trading range, US$1.25, should continue to support growth into the New Year. The downside of this is that producer input prices have risen sharply, and it appears that these are now being fed through to consumers. Infrastructure constraints are increasingly evident, with broadband access continuing to dampen potential prospects. Government efforts to redress this weakness are welcome."