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Business confidence reaches highest level this year

Business confidence in the Northwest rose 20 points last month, reaching its highest level this year.

According to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank of Commerce, business confidence has increased to 54%.

The research was conducted between 1 and 15 November, ahead of the prime minister’s Autumn Statement announcement on Wednesday 22 November.

Companies reported higher confidence in their own business outlook compared to last month, up 17 points to 59%. Taking into account their optimism about the economy, which increased 22 points to 48%, this brings the headline confidence index to 54%.

Northwest businesses identified the top growth target areas over the next six months as introducing new technology (38%), penetrating new markets (34%) and developing their products (34% ).

The Business Barometer, which surveys 1,200 businesses monthly, provides early signals on UK economic trends both regionally and nationally.

45% of businesses in the region expect to increase headcount in the coming year, up 8 points from last month.

The UK’s overall business confidence rose three points in November from 39% to 42%, the third consecutive monthly increase, while companies’ outlook on the UK’s overall economy England increased four points to 38%.

Companies in the services industry reported a 46% increase in confidence (up 3 points), the highest level in more than two years (as of September 2021), reflecting broad-based optimism in the sector .

Retail confidence also increased for a second month to 42% (up 5 points), while confidence among manufacturing companies hit a five-month high of 45% (up 9 points), in contrast to the decline recently.

Confidence among construction companies improved for the first time in three months to 35% (up 4 points), but the figure still lagged other sectors.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank of Commerce, said: “Business confidence rising to a 21-month high shows the resilience of British companies, as both the outlook transactions and economic optimism both continue to increase.

“It is encouraging to see signs that salary expectations may be stabilizing, even amid hiring intentions rising to an 18-month high. Price indexes in the survey were similarly elevated, our data continues to show that companies are still protecting their profit margins from past interest rate hikes, pressure to increase wages and the prospect of rising energy prices again this winter.

“Our next survey in December will reveal how companies are applying the measures announced in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week as they navigate the busy festive season and plan plan for 2024.”


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