The Quarterly Economic Survey portrays a regular picture of local and sub-regional economic trends and business performance/activities, including order books, investment plans and recruitment.
This long-running survey also monitors business confidence and supports the economic forecasting of key organisations like the Bank of England.
Sales rebounded in the last quarter with net balance at levels last seen in 2013/14. Forward orders also showed strong increases.
Foreign sales remain largely subdued in the last quarter although forward orders look more promising.
1 in 2 manufacturers and 40% of services businesses reported recruitment activity in the last quarter. The number of companies looking to increase headcount next quarter is also back to pre-Covid levels. Recruitment challenges remain however, with all subsectors reporting some challenges finding suitably qualified staff.
Intentions for both capital and training moved back to pre-Covid levels once more. Following more than a year of holding back on investment, many firms are now moving forward with plans.
Expectations of increasing turnover and profits also bounced back strongly in the last quarter, following a trend we reported last quarter.
Business costs and concerns
Last quarter we said to expect some inflationary pressures, this quarter we report increases in input costs driven by supply chain challenges and a surge in global demand for raw materials, components and construction products. Our measure for price rise expectations hit a 32 year peak this quarter.