THE UK private-sector economy has in April recorded its fastest monthly growth since November 2013 amid an easing of coronavirus-related restrictions and job creation has been strong, writes Ian McConnell.

The latest survey of activity from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply and IHS Markit, published yesterday, also shows services growth is this month outstripping manufacturing expansion for the first time since the pandemic began,

Noting the improvement in the services sector’s performance, CIPS and IHS Markit said: “This was largely due to a boost from easing government stringency measures regarding some consumer services and non-essential retail in England and Wales from mid-April, with Scotland and Northern Ireland set to follow similar reopening paths by the end of this month.”

The seasonally adjusted flash UK composite output index, which covers the services and manufacturing sectors, has risen to 60 this month, well above the 50 no-change mark and up sharply from March’s final reading of 56.4. CIPS and IHS Markit said: “Latest data pointed to the steepest rate of job creation since August 2017, and comments from survey respondents mostly noted additional staff hiring as opposed to the impact of recalls from furlough.”