By Jonathan Davies

Economic output in the West Midlands reached a 13-month high, according to Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Lloyds' purchasing managers' index (PMI) recorded a score of 61.2 in March, up from 57.7 in February. Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

The score makes the West Midlands the second fastest growing region in the UK, with strong rises in new business, solid job creation and a slight rise in backlogs.

The figures also showed that new business orders placed with the private sector grew for a 29th consecutive month, and at the fastest pace since Jun 2014.

Mark Cadwallader, director for SME Banking in the Midlands at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Private sector firms across the West Midlands were riding high in March, with output growth accelerating to the strongest rate in 13 months.

“The region was second only to London in terms of its activity performance during the latest survey period.

“Firms were buoyed by a marked expansion of new business, while employment continued to increase at a robust pace as businesses took on additional staff to deal with higher workloads.”