North West Businesses report positive start to 2013

April 2nd, 2013


Businesses have seen a generally positive start to the year according to the latest North West Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).


The QES shows a welcome improvement in demand and conditions for larger businesses in both manufacturing and services. In other areas the results are mixed, but remain encouraging overall given the national picture.

Despite the rise in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across the North West, the QES reveals that private sector job creation in the region remains positive. Moreover the employment expectations reported by manufacturers in this quarter’s survey are at the highest level since Q2 1998.

Confidence in the manufacturing sector has eased, reflecting the fact conditions are still challenging for the construction businesses responding to the survey. Competition in the construction industry remains tough, even though official figures showed a welcome rise in orders across the North West in the fourth quarter of 2012. However manufacturers not involved in construction and service sector businesses have seen relatively stable levels of confidence and investment levels are steady, though they remain somewhat subdued by historical measures.

Mick Mayor, Chair of Chambers of Commerce North West, said: “The results for the North West are generally positive and point to an improvement in the business environment for firms in the region.

“It was particularly encouraging to see an increase in the key export indicators for both manufacturing and service firms. It was also good to see the employment indicators remain strong and they show how the private sector continues to create jobs during these difficult economic times.

“The Chancellor's recent budget represented a great opportunity for the Government to introduce measures to drive economic recovery.  And we were pleased that there was much in the budget to recommend. There were a number of investment incentives announced, particularly for the shale gas and aerospace industries, which should help businesses in those sectors here in the North West. However, we feel that the Government could have gone even further – for example, there should have been immediate action on business rates and infrastructure investment.”   

The QES is compiled by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Chambers of Commerce North West. The following North West Chambers contributed to the survey: Altrincham & Sale, Cumbria, East Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Halton, Knowsley, Lancaster, Liverpool, Macclesfield, North & Western Lancashire, Sefton, St Helens, Warrington, West Cheshire & North Wales and Wirral.

Download the full report.


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