North West businesses’ hiring intentions rose to the highest level in six months during October, boosted by their growing confidence in their own prospects, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
The latest figures reveal that the number of businesses expecting to create more jobs over the next 12 months rose 13 points during October to 36 per cent.
Lloyds said this was mainly due to firms’ growing confidence in their own business prospects, which increased by three points to 39 per cent. Economic optimism across the North West stood at 32 per cent, nine points below September’s reading.
Together this gives a confidence reading of 36 per cent, which is two points below last month’s figure of 38 per cent but the highest of any UK region outside London.
Nationally, overall confidence fell 10 points to 19 per cent, its sharpest fall and its lowest level all year, as firms’ optimism about the economy slumped 18 points to just eight per cent. Companies’ confidence in their own business prospects fell three points to 29 per cent.
Martyn Kendrick, regional director for at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in the North West said: “It’s great to see the North West is one of the most confident regions in the country again, despite economic optimism around the country facing a significant slump.
“Although the North West has bucked the national trend, many businesses will be feeling uncertain as we grow closer to the Brexit deadline and Britain’s future trading relationships after leaving the EU remain unclear.”
Across the region, a net balance of 15 per cent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a positive impact on their expectations for business activity, down 11 points on a month ago.
Furthermore, a net balance of 52 per cent said they would be more confident about their business prospects if a deal on Brexit was agreed in November.