Stephen Harris, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking
The number of Yorkshire businesses planning to hire more staff rose during March as confidence climbed 10 points to reach 37%.
That’s according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking which provides early signals about UK economic trends
Companies in the region report higher confidence in their business prospects at 41% and higher economic optimism at 33%, giving an overall confidence of 37%, compared with last month’s figure of 27%.
Companies’ hiring intentions showed that a net balance of 29% of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, up eight points on last month.
Nationally, overall confidence fell one point to 32%, driven by a dip in firms’ economic optimism.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Stephen Harris, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s excellent to see such optimism among Yorkshire firms, especially in a month where productivity was tested by the region’s battering from the Beast from the East.
“There’s currently plenty for firms to be confident about. The ambitious plans laid out by Doncaster Sheffield Airport in March for its £280m ‘aerotroplis’, for example, would serve businesses with an abundance of opportunities to grow domestically and internationally, while offering a massive boost to the local economy too.”
Across Yorkshire, a net balance of 3% 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 marginally from two points on a month ago.
Overall confidence was highest among businesses in London, at 55%, followed by the West Midlands at 42% and the North West at 39%.
Businesses in the South East and Wales were least confident, both with an overall confidence of 13%, 19 points below the national average of 32%.
Overall confidence in March was strongest in the transport and manufacturing sectors, at 55% and 49% respectively.
In contrast, it was weakest in wholesale 11% and hospitality and leisure 18%.
Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “While firms’ confidence in their business prospects improved slightly in March, overall business confidence was held back by a fall in economic optimism.
“Recent progress on the Brexit negotiations has reduced uncertainty, which could continue to support business confidence going forward. The risk of rising global protectionism, however, is a growing concern.”
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