Recovery hope as companies pick up
Lloyds TSB said its headline index covering all English regions rose to 60 last month, signalling the best growth since the survey began in January 2001. In Wales, a score of 57.6 was above the survey's no change value of 50 for the 12th month in a row and the fastest growth since February 2010.
Lloyds business banking director David Oldfield said the findings suggested that the upturn in economic growth seen during the summer has strengthened.
He added: "Most importantly, all regions across England and in Wales have seen a return to job creation, as companies look to meet greater business requirements and confidence increases in the wider economic outlook."
Respondents reported higher levels of domestic business and consumer spending, alongside signs of an improvement in export market conditions.
Meanwhile, a separate survey by accountants and business advisers BDO also highlighted an improvement in short-term business prospects.
BDO's Output Index, which predicts short-run turnover expectations and reflects the current experience of UK businesses, climbed to a 26-month high of 96.8 in July up from 94.9 in June - a fifth consecutive monthly increase.
Output in the services sector, which makes up roughly three quarters of the UK economy, rose from 94.7 in June to 96.5 in July, while the manufacturing sector rose from 95.7 in June to 98.3 in July - both above the crucial 95.0 mark that indicates growth.
BDO's Optimism Index, which predicts business performance in two quarters time, moved up from 94.3 in June to 95.6 in July, posting its sixth consecutive monthly increase and standing at its highest level since April 2012.
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