Firms shed staff for the first time in five months during August, according to the Lloyds TSB South East Purchasing Managers’ Index survey.
A rebound in economic activity recorded in August had lost momentum at the end of the third quarter with output from firms rising at only a marginal pace.
Private sector employment in the South East fell for the first time in five months in September, with the rate of job shedding fastest since November 2009.
By sector, job shedding was more common in manufacturing than services, the report indicated.
Jon Pulford, area director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in Buckinghamshire, said: “The private sector in the South East lost momentum in September, with total business output rising only marginally. That said, some better news was reported on the new business front, with growth picking up slightly since August, suggesting activity will strengthen in October. Despite this, firms reduced staff numbers for the first time in five months, possibly reflecting increased pressure on margins as input price inflation accelerated in September.”