North East business slowdown

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BUSINESS activity in the North East has slid at the fastest rate for more than three years after new orders fell for the fifth month running, according to a new report.

 The Lloyds TSB North East Business Activity Index, which charts manufacturers and service firms, showed that staff numbers and backlogs of work decreased as a result of the deceleration last month.

 Craig McNaughton, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in the North East, said: “The North East saw its sharpest decline in business activity since February 2009, as new order intakes declined further in July.

 “Job losses persisted as a result, while backlogs of work also decreased. Price pressures remained muted, with both input costs and output charges showing little change.”

Companies also reported that average input costs decreased for a second month running, while output charges increased marginally.

July data pointed to another decline in new business volumes, extending the current period of contraction to five months.

The rate of job shedding was only modest, however, and slower than one month previously.

Volumes of work-in-hand – jobs not yet completed – decreased in July, extending the current period of reduction to six months.