Business confidence across the South East doubled in April, rising 13 points to reach 26%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the South East reported higher confidence in their business prospects at 30% and similarly higher economic optimism at 21% in April.
Together, this gives an overall confidence of 26%, which is double last month’s figure of 13%.
Companies’ hiring intentions showed that a net balance of 12% of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, down six points on last month.
Nationally, overall confidence remained unchanged at 32%, although firms’ confidence in their own business outlook fell five points to 31%.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Across the region, a net balance of 16% of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up two points on a month ago.
Phil Kirk, regional director for the South East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Business confidence across the region began to dip across the first few months of the year but is now showing signs of recovery.
“This upbeat attitude hasn’t yet fed through to hiring plans, but as confidence grows we expect more companies to expand their workforce.
“As a strong exporting region, business leaders will be closely following the UK’s exit from the European Union as the future trading landscape takes shape.”
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