Business confidence is up across the North West, says new survey

Latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking says companies in the region report higher confidence in their own business prospects, up three points to 27%

Martyn Kendrick
Martyn Kendrick, Lloyds Bank regional director for SME Banking in the North West


Business confidence in the North West rose eight points during April to 20%, making it the second most confident region in the UK, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Companies in the region report higher confidence in their own business prospects, up three points to 27%, and higher economic optimism, up 11 points to 13%. Together, this gives an overall confidence of 20%, which is second only to the West Midlands (28%).

Businesses’ hiring intentions show that a net balance of 19% of firms in the region now expect to hire more staff during the next year, up eight points on last month.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide. Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s great to see the North West bouncing back after the fall in confidence experienced earlier on in the year.

“Despite facing into a number of headwinds, it’s encouraging to see firms in the region feeling optimistic about their growth and planning to increase their headcount and capacity as a result.”

Across the UK, overall confidence climbed four points to 14% as both firms’ optimism about the economy and their confidence in their own prospects continued to climb from lows recorded earlier this year. 

Companies’ economic optimism rose to 4%, while confidence in their own business prospects climbed three points to 23%. After the West Midlands and the North West, London had the next highest overall confidence at 19%.

Those in Wales were the least confident, with an overall confidence of -1%, 15 points below the national average. The overall confidence of UK firms in manufacturing, construction and services all improved – but retail sector confidence fell.

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