West Cheshire & North Wales Businesses Show Strong Growth in the First Quarter of 2017

Posted 19 April 2017 | 0 Comments

Businesses from across West Cheshire & North Wales have shown strong growth in the first quarter of 2017, according to a Quarterly Economic Survey conducted by the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.

160 businesses from across the region took part in the survey representing over 15,600 employees.

The survey shows the number of businesses reporting an increase in home and export sales and orders over the past three months rising higher than the previous quarter. Home sales and orders show especially strong growth rising to the highest figure recorded in two years.

Business confidence in the region also remains stable with the percentage of businesses expecting their probability to increase in the next three months rising to 41%. However, confidence in turnover slightly fell to 53%.

The employment position in West Cheshire & North Wales rose with employment expectations, rising to 21% and the percentage of businesses that tried to recruit staff of the past three months rising to 44%. Investment in training over the past three months also saw a slight rise to 26% of businesses.

However, price pressures remain significant with a weaker sterling pushing up raw material prices and other overheads being the biggest worry.

In regards to external factors, business rates and inflation saw the biggest increase in concern from businesses, rising from 19% to 33% and 15% to 29% respectively.

Commenting on the results, Colin Brew, Chief Executive of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Results for Q1 2017 show that businesses in West Cheshire and North Wales are reporting a strong start to the year and confidence remains high as the UK Government enters Brexit negotiations.

However, the drop in the value of sterling since the EU referendum continues to push up the price of raw materials which could dampen growth in the medium term. There has also been a sharp increase of businesses citing inflation as a concern.

Employment expectations are broadly moving in line with the trend in the North West, though businesses remain hampered by recruitment difficulties.

Next quarter’s results should give a better insight into the medium-term impact of the EU referendum and it will be interesting to see if business confidence remains high as the Brexit negotiations develop.”

The full report can be viewed here: QES Q1 2017 Report