Trading in Down Town Kampala.

Uganda’s private sector created more jobs in the month of November more than it had created in the last four months, a new report shows.

According to Stanbic Bank Uganda’s Purchase Managers’ Index (PMI), both output and new orders increased for the fourth month running in November.

The rise in wages was the first in six months and came alongside renewed job creation.

“The health of the private sector has now strengthened in each of the past four months,” said Ronald Muyanja, the Head of Trading at Stanbic Bank.

Muyanja said this points to stronger demand and higher customer numbers and that, for the third month running, all five monitored sectors saw output increase.

He added that the index shows that there was continued rise in input costs and selling prices.

But sustained new order growth encouraged companies to increase their staffing levels, thereby ending a five-month sequence of decline.

Agriculture was the only category to buck the wider trend and post a reduction in employment.

Firms also increased their purchasing activity and inventory holdings in response to rising new orders.

Overall input costs rose amid higher costs for fuel, purchases and staff.

Higher purchase costs reflected increases in price for a range of items, including cement, cooking oil, soap and sugar.

Firms also raised their own selling prices in November in response to higher cost burdens, and for the third month in a row.

Looking ahead, respondents (companies) remained optimistic that business activity will increase over the coming year, with sentiment supported by expectations of further improvements in new orders and customer numbers.

The PMI has been conducted since June 2016 and covers the agriculture, industry, construction, wholesale & retail and service sectors.

About 400 private sector companies are interviewed to generate the survey’s findings.