Business activity in the English regions rose at its fastest rate in 17 months in June, with the West Midlands seeing the third best overall figure, figures have shown.
The 55.9 reading, up from 54.8 in May, showed it was continuing to pull away from the level of 50 that separates growth from contraction. It was the best rate since January 2012.
The Lloyds TSB Regional Purchasing Managers Index also showed that, for the second month in a row, business activity rose in all nine English regions.
Most regions also reported increased job creation during the month, with London seeing the most marked rise in private sector employment since August 2007, the survey found.
The capital had the best overall figure for business activity, with a reading of 58.3, followed by the North West (58.1) and the West Midlands (56.3). The North East on 51.7 did grow but remained the weakest performing English region.
The North West led the way on levels of new business, followed by the West Midlands, and then London.
The survey found anecdotal evidence that improving business and consumer confidence, together with successful product launches, had boosted new order volumes.
Eight of the nine regions showed overall increases in new jobs, led by the West Midlands and London. The one exception was the North East where there was a marginal decrease in employment, the survey found.
David Oldfield, managing director of small and medium enterprise and mid markets banking at Lloyds Banking Group, said: "Business activity stepped up a gear in June, while increases in new orders and stronger job creation added to the brightening economic picture across the English regions.
"A sustained period of rising output has spurred private sector job creation over the summer, with London, the North West and the South West all recording the fastest employment growth for over five years.
"Businesses also reported gains in new work from both domestic and international clients, helped by successful new product launches and signs of stronger economic conditions in key markets."