North West business confidence fell in November, new study shows

Latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking reveals firms in the region reporting lower confidence in their business prospects at 10% and lower economic optimism at 2%

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Business confidence in the North West fell in November, says Lloyds


Business confidence in the North West fell six points during November, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Companies in the North West report lower confidence in their business prospects at 10% and lower economic optimism at 2%. Together, this gives an overall confidence of 6%. Businesses’ hiring intentions show that a net balance of 8% of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, down two points on last month.

Across the UK, overall confidence rose three points to 9% as firms’ optimism about the economy rose 10 points to 7%, although their confidence in their own prospects dropped three points to 12%.

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: “While it’s disappointing to see confidence in the region fall this month, the North West continues to outperform many other areas of the country.

“The region recently overtook the South East as the region receiving the highest number of Government-backed start-up loans outside London – a clear indication that the region’s entrepreneurial spirit hasn’t dampened despite the strong headwinds it has faced.”

Across the region, a net balance of 22% 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 five points on a month ago.

Businesses in the West Midlands once again showed the most confidence, at 24%, ahead of London at 20%, and East Midlands at 14%. Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of -6%, 15 points below the national average.

Overall business confidence improved in manufacturing, retail and services and stayed broadly steady in construction. The largest increase was in the retail sector, rising six points to 21%, while the construction sector remained high at 16% despite a slight decline of two points.

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