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North West economic optimism edges ahead

Companies in the North West report higher economic optimism at 40%, six points higher than the previous month, while their confidence in their own prospects stood unchanged at 35%, a report published today shows.

Companies’ hiring intentions fell slightly, with a net balance of 30% of businesses in the region now expecting to hire more staff during the next year, down two points on last month.

Nationally, overall confidence edged ahead to 30%, up one point on June, as firms’ optimism about the economy rose two points to 25%. Businesses’ confidence in their own business prospects held steady at 34%.

The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses every month and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Glenn Bemment, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The increase in confidence proves that firms are growing more comfortable operating in an often uncertain political and economic environment.

“It is encouraging to see economic optimism rise in the North West, and as we gain more clarity regarding our economic future over the coming months, we expect to see even more businesses investing in growth.”

Around the regions, businesses in the West Midlands showed the most confidence, at 49%, ahead of London (47%) and the North West (38%).

Businesses in the East of England were the least confident, with an overall confidence of 14%, followed by Wales and Scotland at 17%.

Overall confidence was the strongest in the construction sector (48%), followed by manufacturing (38%) and transport and communication (28%).

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The fact that economic optimism rose across the UK as a whole this month illustrates a slightly more positive view on the balance of risks for the country’s economy, despite the expected interest rate rise this year.

“It will be interesting to see if the overall business confidence measure shifts from its steady position towards the end of the year."

 

Source: http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/northwest/news/2025871-north-west-economic-optimism-edges-ahead?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NorthWest_31st_Jul_2018_Daily