Local growth continues to stall amid uncertainty

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The Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey – forming part of the largest private sector survey of business sentiment and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth run by the British Chambers of Commerce – finds that underlying economic conditions in Staffordshire remained stagnant in the second quarter of 2019.

 

The latest results from the survey of over 164 business – employing around 3,000 people – points to the impact that the relentless Brexit uncertainty, rising business costs and tougher global trading conditions are having on the local economy, with both manufacturing and service sectors locked in a ‘holding pattern’ of stagnated growth.

 

Key findings in the Q2 2019 survey:

Services Sector saw slight increase in the balance of companies reporting high domestic sales and orders, as well as export sales and orders, however both remain weak by historical standards.

Both service and manufacturing sectors reported decreased in capital expenditure on plant machinery and equipment despite this indicator increasing nationally, again capital expenditure and business investment remains low.

 

Manufacturing sector showed a positive uptick in the number of firms who have recruited since the last quarter, conversely the service sector shows continued decline in recruitment as the UK continues with record high levels of employment. Recruitment difficulties remain in firms looking for professional and managerial skills.

 

Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce said: “These results show that while some of the Brexit ‘pressure’ has been taken away from businesses due to political uncertainty, businesses in Staffordshire are feeling the affect of that indecisiveness.

“To boost and incentivise investment, our business community are looking for a bold growth agenda. The next government must hit the ground running and introduce measures to reduce the upfront cost of doing business, deliver on major infrastructure projects such as HS2, and unblock the arteries of Britain’s skills system.”

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