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BUSINESSES CONFIDENCE RISES IN EAST MIDLANDS PRIOR TO SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION

BUSINESSES CONFIDENCE RISES IN EAST MIDLANDS PRIOR TO SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION

Business confidence in the East Midlands rose 19 points during September to 47%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. 

Companies in the East Midlands reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, up 14 points at 36%. When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, up 23 points to 57%, this gives a headline confidence reading of 46%. 

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide. This month’s survey was conducted before fuel disruption and ongoing supply chain issues tightened their grip. 

A net balance of 39% of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up 37 points on last month - the highest reading since 2018. 

Overall UK business confidence rose 10 points in September to 46%, with all regions and nations reporting double-digit confidence levels. The number of businesses planning on hiring new staff more than doubled from 18% to 37% as firms plan to increase headcount over the next 12 months. Overall confidence in trading prospects rose by nine points to 43% and firms’ optimism in the economy increased by the same amount to 48%. 

All bar three UK regions reported an increase in confidence with Wales (up 27 points to 46%) and Yorkshire and Humber (up 22 points to 48%) reporting the biggest jumps. Firms in the North West (down 17 points to 47%) and East of England (down nine points to 30%) reported falls in confidence but both remained comfortably in positive territory.Businesses in the South East reported no change month on month at 32%. 

Amanda Dorel, regional director for the East Midlands at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:

“After confidence among businesses fell in August it’s promising to see it rebound earlier this month with firms making ambitious plans to create new jobs in the coming months. However, the region’s businesses will need to remain resilient to any bumps in the road, not least with the ongoing labour, fuel and supply chain challenges. 

“We will work with business across different sectors to ensure they can overcome any obstacles they face in the months ahead.” 

Confidence increased across the four broad sectors, notably in manufacturing and services. Manufacturing (up nine points to 49%) reached a four-month high, while services gained 11 points to 47%, the highest since early 2017, with particularly strong trading prospects in hospitality and financial & business services. Retail confidence improved by 8 points to a four-month high of 42%, while construction only edged up by 1 point to 41% which was nevertheless a three-year high. 

Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:

“It remains encouraging to see a further improvement in business confidence reaching its highest level since April 2017. 

“Employment expectations have risen significantly, with more than half of businesses expecting to recruit in the next 12 months. The hope is that the availability of labour will increase to alleviate current staff shortages for many firms, which will help to underpin UK economic growth over the medium term.” 


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