NatWest UK regional PMI report for February 2024

Most areas of the UK see growth in business activity as trends in demand generally improve.

Key findings

  • Two-thirds of nations and regions see output rise in February
  • Business expectations towards future activity generally improve
  • Cost pressures intensify in most areas


The latest NatWest Regional PMI® survey showed business activity growing across most parts of the UK in February. Business confidence also generally picked up amid a more broad-based improvement in underlying demand. Labour market trends remained more varied, however, with firms in most areas reporting stronger cost pressures and low capacity utilisation. 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. Two-thirds of the monitored UK nations and regions recorded business activity growth in February. London remained out in front despite seeing its pace of expansion ease to a three-month low (index at 56.5). At the other end of the scale, Wales (47.5) posted a solid and accelerated fall in output, while declines were also seen in the North East (47.5), Yorkshire & Humber (48.3) and South West (49.3).


Sebastian Burnside, Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Economist, commented:

"These latest PMI figures build on the positive start to the year we reported last month, with business activity rising in the majority of nations and regions in February. Encouragingly, growth in most cases is being supported by increasing levels of new business, indicating a pick-up in underlying demand and hinting that the upturn as has legs. "Business confidence has generally perked up and in many areas has improved considerably since the start of the year, in a further boost to the outlook. "Price pressures generally increased across the UK in February, with businesses reporting a combination of growing wage demands and cost increases related to the Red Sea shipping disruption. Inflation indicators remain particularly high in London, but they have picked up again in most other areas, too. "With falling backlogs of work suggesting a lack on strain on business capacity, and wage pressures remaining persistently high, we're still seeing some caution towards hiring."


Please see the regional reports in full:


UK National (PDF, 1,793KB)

North East (PDF, 1,257KB)

North West (PDF, 2,963KB)

Yorkshire and the Humber (PDF, 1,317KB)

East Midlands (PDF, 1,281KB)

West Midlands (PDF, 1,173KB)

East of England (PDF, 1,251KB)

London (PDF, 1,216KB)

South East (PDF, 1,233KB)

South West (PDF, 1,263KB)

Scotland (PDF, 2,789KB)

Wales (PDF, 3,073KB)

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