Welcome to the quarterly economic report for quarter three of 2020. As fieldwork was being carried out, lockdown measures were eased, schools were opening their gates, and many businesses that had been working remotely were beginning to return to their workspaces and to a new ‘normal’.
Despite the ongoing challenges, the region has shown true Yorkshire resilience over the last few months. Investment intentions for both plant and machinery and staff training remain historically low, but saw an increase in quarter three as more and more businesses adapt to new ways of working and take on new technology to aid them in doing so. These tentative signs of recovery are reflected in business confidence, which is slowly rising again in some sectors.
(Martin Hathaway, Managing Director)
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.
The Quarterly Economic Survey is a regular snapshot of key information, such as local business activity, confidence and issues, which policy makers and government ministers use to inform their decisions and thinking. We incorporate statistics, based on data contributed by members, on sales, orders, export, employment and the impact of economic factors such as inflation and exchange rates to provide ministers with an accurate and up to date analysis of business in the Mid Yorkshire region.
If you want to see change and influence policy on the business issues that are important to your business then you need to ensure that you are feeding the information into the system. Participating in the QES is an effective strategy to have your voice heard by those who can do something about the business issues you care about.
Every quarter, we encourage Chamber members to participate in the online survey. All responses are anonymous so you can speak freely (if you wish to speak openly and directly to policy makers you should consider attending our Area Council Meetings). We analyse this data to create the QES report which is then sent to key government departments and financial institutions such as The Treasury and The Bank of England. The QES Report is also a very useful resource to inform your own business. To have your say please compete the survey here.
The Mid Yorkshire Chamber and British Chambers of Commerce not only have the ears of policy makers but actively lobby government and demand a response. We regularly speak out through the media, both locally and nationally, on these issues because we are the voice of the British business community.
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