A clear diving line has been drawn between manufacturing and service sectors on domestic sales this past three months. Services grew sales by five per cent during Q3 while manufacturers saw sales plummet by 10 per cent. However, both sectors showed significant improvements in their order books so hopefully this will level up in Q4.
After a turbulent few months, both manufacturers and services sector firms showed significant improvements in their overseas markets. Manufacturers growing international sales rose by 15 per cent while service sector firms continued their upward trajectory seen in 2023 with an 11 per cent rise.
More encouraging findings, with both sectors looking to increase their headcounts in the next three months. Services firms saw hiring intentions increase by seven per cent while manufacturers were up by five per cent.
Yorkshire manufacturing showed a marked improvement in investment with large increases in spending on both training and equipment. This follows months of stagnant investment. Meanwhile the service sector continued its upward trajectory with increases in spending.
Both manufacturers and service sector firms anticipate profits to grow in the final three months of the year. While service sector firms report greater levels of optimism, it is clear the majority of businesses believe the worst is behind them.
BUSINESS COSTS AND CONCERNS
Despite the improving performance and outlook, constraints remain. Interest rates, inflation and the cost of energy remain at the forefront of business leaders’ minds. As the weather cools and overheads from utilities begin to increase, a tough winter could loom for some businesses.
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.