NatWest UK regional PMI report for November 2022

Business conditions continue to worsen across all UK regions

Key findings

  • Further broad-based decline in business activity in November
  • Expectations improve in most areas but still historically subdued
  • Cost pressures remain elevated, and even intensify in majority of cases

Business activity fell in all areas, while there were also further signs of a slowdown in local labour markets. Expectations towards the year ahead generally improved after having slumped in October, but they nevertheless remained subdued by historical standards amid persistent strong inflation and recession worries.

The PMI Business Activity Index is the first fact-based indicator of regional economic health published each month, tracking the monthly change in the output of goods and services across the private sector. A reading above 50 signals growth, and the further above the 50 level the faster the expansion signalled.

All 12 monitored regions recorded a further fall in business activity in November. Rates of contraction did, however, slow in just over half of cases, including Wales and the North East, the two top-ranked areas, where activity came close to stabilising (business activity indexes at 49.8 respectively). Scotland (43.9) recorded the most marked fall in output, followed by the South West (45.3).

Sebastian Burnside, NatWest Chief Economist, commented:

"Back-to-back monthly contractions in business activity across all regions and nations highlights a general worsening of economic conditions across the UK as we move towards the end of the year.   

"There are growing signs that local labour markets are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, with most regions seeing a slowdown in job creation – to a crawl some cases – and East Midlands and North East even recording outright declines in employment. 

"After a sharp fall in business confidence in October in the wake of "mini" budget, November saw expectations improve across virtually all areas. Still, business confidence generally remained subdued, owing to continued concerns about persistent high inflation, rising interest rates and the prospect of a recession."      

Please see the regional reports in full:

UK National (PDF, 250KB)

North East (PDF, 370KB)

North West (PDF, 370KB)

Yorkshire and the Humber (PDF, 400KB)

East Midlands (PDF, 400KB)

West Midlands (PDF, 380KB)

East of England (PDF, 400KB)

London (PDF, 350KB)

South East (PDF, 400KB)

South West  (PDF, 380KB)

Scotland (PDF, 370KB)

Wales  (PDF, 380KB)

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