Business activity expansion across the private sector in the United Kingdom rose to seven-month high in March, according to data compiled by IHS Markit and CIPS.
- The headline seasonally adjusted UK Composite Output Index registered 56.6 in March versus 49.6 in February.
- This is the first time the index was above the 50.0 no-change mark in three months, and the fastest speed of recovery since August 2020.
- Increased business activity came amid looser restrictions on trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer stringency measures also contributed to the rise in total new work.
- Service providers cited forward bookings from domestic consumers, and manufacturers noted advanced orders from hospitality businesses and high-street retailers.
- Backlog for the month rose by the fastest pace since June 2018, as manufacturers cited capacity constraints due to supply chain difficulties.
- Rebuilding business capacity and response to rising customer demands contributed to an increase in private sector employment. This is the first upturn in staffing numbers since February 2020.