Jobs hope as one in three look for staff

Stephen Gregson says the Q4 survey shows nearly one in three businesses are set to take on more workers.
Stephen Gregson says the Q4 survey shows nearly one in three businesses are set to take on more workers.
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Almost one in three businesses in the county are said to be preparing to take on staff.

The latest Lancashire Quarterly Economic Survey figures show that commerce is on the road to recovery. The Q4 report brought good news on the employment front as 30 per cent of businesses said that they expect their workforce levels to increase in the next three months.

The figures also reveal a 16 per cent increase in the number of firms recruiting for full-time positions and a 13 per cent increase in firms trying to fill permanent vacancies.

The figures showed that the manufacturing sector has again outperformed the service sector in Q4, most notably with further growth in export sales and orders. However, looking at 2013 as whole, the service sector has had its strongest year for three years.

The survey, compiled by the county’s three chambers of commerce in association with Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants, shows that despite some key balances weakening in the final Quarter of 2013, overall prospects for growth look stronger than in the past two years.

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “The strong export and investment balances confirm that business is set to play a key role in rebalancing the economy. However, there are risks that should prevent complacency creeping in.

“The eurozone’s basic problems have not yet been resolved, which could adversely impact our exporters, and inflation remains a concern. The MPC must continue its forward guidance on interest rates, keep inflation low and meet the two per cent target.”

Stephen Gregson, Corporate Finance Director at Moore and Smalley, said: “We must hope that the tangible recovery we are seeing continues to have sustained momentum in 2014 and is driven by real increases in business investment and activity, not just by house price increases.

“However, the results show that Lancashire’s businesses are in a better position than they were 12-months ago and are planning to make investment and recruitment.”

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