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"Business confidence in Yorkshire is rising"
Business confidence in Yorkshire has reached its highest level for more than a year, according to findings published today, while another report shows regional manufacturers remain resilient.
The Business Confidence Monitor from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Grant Thornton said economic recovery remains fragile, but a 4.3 per cent rise in regional exports in the past year helped push up the ‘confidence index’ score to 19.2, against –0.9 at the start of 2011.
Stronger growth was expected, with regional firms anticipating exports will rise over the coming 12 months by 6.3 per cent, the strongest expectation since comparable data began at the end of 2004.
ICAEW regional director Chris Manners said: “It’s heartening that businesses are reporting an improvement for all the key financial indicators. Firms expect gross profits and sales volumes to rise over the coming year by 4.3 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.
“Although expectations are for faster job creation over the coming 12 months, with firms anticipating increasing headcounts by 1.8 per cent, government cutbacks are likely to hit hard. Yorkshire has the second highest exposure to public sector job losses of any English region, with 22.4 per cent of workers employed by the state at the end of 2011. Job cuts associated with government austerity measures are expected to push the regional unemployment rate up this year.”
Grant Thornton Yorkshire senior partner Jonathan Riley said: “Any improvement in the key performance indicators in the Business Confidence Monitor is positive. Turnover and profits are all increasing but nowhere near the rate seen pre-recession and businesses are beginning to realise that this environment may be the norm for some time.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire manufacturers are remaining resilient due to growth in emerging markets and the strength of the region’s civil aerospace and motor vehicle industry, according to a survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and business advisers BDO LLP.
It shows that output and orders remained positive was among the strongest across the UK regions. But continuing economic uncertainty and fears over the European economy have dented confidence, with output and orders for the next three months falling.
EEF regional director Andy Tuscher said: “Manufacturers were maintaining resilience and were building on successful strategies to access growth opportunities in new markets.
“However, the main risk to activity is still rooted in the on-going Eurozone crisis.”