DOMESTIC SALES AND ORDERS – Sales improved for both services and manufacturing in the last quarter with net balance up 11 points and 13 points respectively. Retail showed the slowest increase with leisure and hospitality, information technology and professional services leading the way.
EXPORT SALES AND ORDERS – International sales remain subdued and forward orders turned negative across services and manufacturing. Some of this will no doubt be connected to Brexit but there are also wider global tensions, trade wars and protectionism which are now impacting our region.
EMPLOYMENT – Remains strong across the region, but some signs that companies are maintaining headcount against a backdrop of sluggish national economic growth awaiting an end to Brexit uncertainty.
INVESTMENT – Some improvements on the previous quarter but manufacturing investment remains slow by historic levels.
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE – Despite the uncertainty confidence improved in the last quarter across services and manufacturing, recognition perhaps that uncertainty is the new certainty and a need to just get on with business?