The North East and North West regions of the UK are leading in business confidence in the economy according to the latest Business Barometer survey from Lloyds Bank.
While overall business confidence dipped slightly nationwide this month, the measure of optimism in the economy remains above the long-term average, with businesses in the North East, North West and East Midlands all bucking the national trend and reporting rises to 40%, 38% and 38% respectively.
With the economy having fully reopened after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, the hospitality (63%) and transport (53%) were predictably the most optimistic sectors, but business confidence remains at historically strong levels across most sectors.
Paul Gordon, Managing Director for SME and Mid Corporates, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:
Despite the fall in business confidence in eight of the UK’s regions and nations in July, the recent trend has been for an improvement since the start of the year. There remains a fair degree of uncertainty on employment, skills, international trade and inflation, but with both retail and manufacturing confidence at historically high levels and the strengthening of the hospitality and transport sectors, reflecting the further opening of the economy, we should be cautiously confident about the coming months and we remain by their side on their road to recovery.”
In further good news for the UK’s economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, hiring intentions at businesses nationwide rose in July to its highest figure in almost four years, and was the sixth consecutive month with rising prospects for jobs according to Lloyds’ research. A quarter of firms surveyed also predicted pay growth of 2% or more in the coming 12 months, the highest figure since lockdown began in March 2020.
Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:
A sixth consecutive monthly increase in employment expectations alongside an increase in pay growth predictions continues to highlight the resilience of UK businesses despite a slight dip in overall business confidence. With COVID-19 restrictions having now been significantly eased in parts of the UK we can have further confidence in firms’ outlook for the UK economy.”