The tentative “green shoots” that carried the wider UK economy into, marginal growth in May and June failed to penetrate to the West Midlands.
The region remained in recession for a thirteenth month in June, though the rate of decline was slower than at any time since the downturn began.
In a regional breakdown of the Purchasing Managers’ Index, the financial information company Market reported the West Midlands was losing jobs faster than any other part of the UK last month.
The overall index of business activity, though, measuring the combined output of the region’s manufacturers and services, picked up marginally to 48.0 from 47.9 on a scale where anything under 50 indicates a decline.
Across the UK this index edged up to 51.7 from 50.9 in May
The continuing decline in the West Midlands reflected falls in both sales and new orders, which hit manufacturers harder than service companies.
Both suffered severe job losses. The sub-index for employment in the region sank to 37.6 from 38.8 in May, against a UK average of 42.5.
“The West Midlands was unable to lift itself out of recession in June, with continually falling output levels again the theme,” commented Sarah Ledger, an economist at Markit.
“Excess capacity within the region remains and therefore further job cuts may be recorded.
“The wider UK economy has started to improve modestly, however, which may have positive knock-on consequences.”
West Midlands companies, particularly manufacturers, continued to benefit from lower input prices of fuel and raw materials.
But their margins remained under pressure as competition bore down more severely on the prices they were able to charge.