Growth in private sector activity remained steady, +19% from +18% in the quarter to March, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest Growth Indicator.
Activity within consumer services stabilised, after falling in the quarter to March (+3% in the quarter to April from -23%). Business & professional services activity (+22% from +25%) and distribution sales (+25% from +27%) continued to grow solidly in the quarter to April. But growth in manufacturing output slowed somewhat (+19% from +27%).
Looking ahead, private sector activity is expected to grow at a similar pace in the next three months (+22%).
Within this, consumer services expect a return to growth (+9%) and business & professional services firms expect growth to pick up further (+33%). Manufacturers expect a similar pace of growth (+17%), while distribution firms anticipate growth to slow (+11).
Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, said, “While private sector growth seems resilient so far, near-term challenges are growing. Strong inflationary pressure is hurting businesses through higher costs, and is leading to an acute cost-of-living crunch for households. This will weigh on the economic outlook for this year.
While the Chancellor announced support for low-income households in his Spring Statement, this should be kept under review in light of febrile pressures on living standards. To combat rising cost pressures, firms may also require further support prior to the Autumn Budget.”
The CBI Growth Indicator is a composite measure of activity, based on responses to CBI surveys. In total, 513 firms responded between 24th March and 13th April 2022.