The Quarterly Economic Survey is the Chamber’s regular ‘finger on the pulse’ providing an accurate measure of the state of the region’s economy.
Qtr 4 2016 – Summary (published Thurs 19 January 2017; next results out late April)
DOMESTIC SALES & ORDERS – Growth in service sector sales fell from its Q2 2014 peak with net balance this quarter down 3 points to +14%. Manufacturing reported modest gains, up 5 points to +13%. Both sectors reported increases in forward orders.
EXPORT SALES & ORDERS – Manufacturing export sales rose with net balance up 17 points to +27%, its highest level since Q1 2015. Service sector remains unchanged at +14%.
EMPLOYMENT – Manufacturers reported further increases in headcount, up 8 points to +24%, the second consecutive quarter of growth. Service sector employment grew with net balance unchanged on the previous quarter at +14%. 59% of companies reported difficulties in recruiting appropriate staff.
INVESTMENT – Following last quarter’s post-referendum drop, the number of companies increasing their capital investment rose in the last three months for both service and manufacturing sectors up 12 points and 8 points respectively. Training investment also rose in the last quarter across all sectors.
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE – Confidence, which has been trending downwards since the end of 2014, rose across all sectors in the last quarter. Manufacturers reported a more buoyant outlook for the next 12 months with expectations of increasing turnover and profits both up on the previous quarter. Similar views were presented by the service sector which also expressed more confidence with net balance up for both turnover and profitability following two declining quarters.
Bond Dickinson – sponsor of the QES – comments
“There is much in this survey that is very positive and it is great to see the improving figures in relation to international trade which
indicates we are moving in the right direction to achieve the Government’s target to grow UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020. Importantly, the Survey tells us that confidence across the region is higher than it has been since the end of 2014.
“Expectations of increasing profits and turnover are both on the up for manufacturers and those in the service sector. As the survey highlights, in April the new apprenticeship levy will come into force which will have a direct impact on companies with a salary bill of £3m and over. It is worrying that a number of businesses are not yet ready for this change and it is really important to find out now if and how you will be impacted.”
Simon Pilling, Partner
The full QES report is available here.
Thank you to both Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and to Bond Dickinson for supporting the latest Quarterly Economic Survey – it is much appreciated. A contribution from both is included in the report.