YORKSHIRE has the slowest rate of growth in the the UK, according to the RBS/NatWest Regional Growth Track analysis.
The region has had year-on-year growth of 2.2%, putting it significantly behind the 3.0% enjoyed by its northern rivals in the North West and North East. London led the way with growth of 3.7%.
The analysis, which is based on data from the Office for National Statistics, showed the region was being held back by sluggish growth in its big cities, with Leeds and Bradford recording 2.1% and 1.9% respectively. Only Wakefield, with 3.2%, outperformed the average for Yorkshire's northern neighbours.
RBS regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, Liam Kane, sounded a note of caution, saying "there is a growing optimism and confidence in the region but I wouldn’t call it unbridled".
He added: “The cranes are back in our cities and that brings a certain feel good factor and breeds confidence.
"The sectors I’m seeing doing particularly well are automotive and leisure and that points to disposable income returning to people’s pockets. Nevertheless the businesses I speak to are finding it difficult to find the skilled workers they need and that remains the biggest challenge to SMEs."
RBS economist Rupert Seggins, reflecting on the national picture, said: "It was a slower Q1 for the UK economy and this was reflected in our estimates of growth across its regions. The regions that did well this quarter were those with heavier reliance on sectors like wholesale and retail, leisure and ICT and those that we estimate as being more competitive than their regional peers."