Quarterly Economic Survey
Executive Summary - Q3 2020

Domestic sales and orders – Net balance for both services and manufacturing improved on the last quarter, however both remain negative, meaning the pace of declining sales maybe slowing.

Export sales and orders – As with UK sales, companies reported improvements in net balance but sales and orders both remain negative.

Employment – More companies reported reductions in headcounts than increases in the last quarter. This trend looks set to continue into the next quarter for manufacturers, however B2B service sector businesses reported a positive net balance meaning more firms will look to increase headcounts rather than continue to decrease.

Investment – Investment for plant & machinery improved in the last quarter across both services and manufacturing, however net balance remains below zero. An increasing number of companies are looking to invest in staff training, as companies get used to new working practices and increasing use of technology. As workforce changes remain subdued it may be that some companies are looking to automate processes and services through increasing use of technology.

Business confidence – Despite all of the negative net balances, business confidence has rebounded back to pre-crisis levels. Barring future lockdowns and restrictions this may be a source of comfort as businesses look to the future and prepare for recovery.

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