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With the outcome of Brexit still hanging in the balance - how is your business faring?
The British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is the largest private sector survey of businesses in the UK, and it is a leading indicator of UK GDP growth.
Against a backdrop of a slowing global economy, escalating Brexit uncertainty, and rises in business costs as the UK enters a new tax year, the latest results from the survey of over 7,000 businesses, including those in Norfolk – all collectively employing around one million people – reflect a deterioration in many gauges of the UK’s economic strength.
Now in the second Quarter of 2019, with the outcome of Brexit still hanging in the balance – we need to understand how Norfolk businesses are reacting to the current economic climate. Today (Monday 20 May 2019) is the first day of the fieldwork period for the Q2 Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).
The QES is the largest independent business survey in the UK and is used by both the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to plan the future of the UK economy. It is also closely watched by the International Monetary Fund. It is vital that as many Norfolk businesses as possible take part, so we get a true reflection of the local economy.
It takes less than 3 minutes. The completion deadline for this survey is midnight on Monday 10 June 2019. The Q2 results will be published week commencing 01 July 2019.
Key findings from Q1 2019:
Norfolk Manufacturing sector:
- The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales rose from 0 to +26, while those reporting improved domestic orders also rose from +0 to +41
- The balance of firms reporting improved export sales fell from +43 to +31, and the balance of firms reporting improved export orders rose very slightly from +43 to +46
- The balance of firms reporting improved cashflow remained weak, but rose from +21 to +26
- The percentage of firms attempting to recruit fell from 74% to 57%, the weakest since Q4 2012. Of those, 92% reported recruitment difficulties, close to its record high
- The balance of firms increasing investment in plant/machinery rose in the quarter from +16 to +18, while investment in training fell from +42 and +23
- The balance of firms confident that turnover and profitability will increase in the next 12 months was mixed - falling from +32 to +30 for turnover and rising from +11 to +23 for profitability
Norfolk Services sector:
- The balance of firms reporting increased domestic sales fell from +21 to +9, the weakest since Q3 2016. Those reporting improved domestic orders fell from +15 to -2
- The balance of firms reporting improved export sales, whilst still weak, reported an increase from -5 to +4 and export orders rose from -9 to +7
- The balance of firms reporting improved cashflow dropped in negative territory - falling from +8 to -10
- The percentage of firms looking to recruit fell to 53%. Of those, 79% had recruitment difficulties – a little higher than the previous quarter
- The balance of firms looking to increase investment in plant and machinery fell from +9 to +6 (weakest since Q4 2016), and from +20 to +16 in training
- The balance of firms confident that turnover will improve over the next year remained static, whilst those who thought profitability would improve dropped from +24 to +14