The economic outlook for Coventry and Warwickshire has improved since the start of the year according to the latest survey of businesses in the region.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) shows a small uptick in the potential performance of the regional economy based on businesses’ current and future orders, their plans to invest and take on new staff and their overall confidence.
The survey, which is delivered in partnership with Prime Accountants Group, is analysed by the Economy & Skills Group at Warwickshire County Council. Its analysis uses a similar score to the national Markits Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) where 50 is neutral, anything above is positive and anything below means the reverse.
The survey showed an uplift in domestic sales in both the service and manufacturing sectors with a score of 60.2 in manufacturing, up from 58.8, and a score of 57.9 in the service sector, up from 52.0.
Overseas sales were, however, down and are below the all-important 50-mark in services and manufacturing.
When it comes to employment, there are clearly strong intentions to increase headcount among businesses in the region while cashflow issues appear to have eased slightly.
Confidence in the service sector rose from 55.5 to 59.2 and in manufacturing it jumped from 65.0 to 69.6 leaving an overall economic outlook score of 55.3.
Corin Crane, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire are, once again, proving to be incredibly resilient when faced with tough trading conditions. We’ve seen from the most recent GDP figures that the economy remains quite flat and, yet, our region continues to buck the trend.
“There are all sorts of issues that businesses are facing across our region, including high energy prices, inflation, rising interest rates and recruitment problems, but they continue to innovate and find ways to grow.
“We will continue to speak out on those many issues but, also, offer our support directly to businesses who are looking to grow and seek new opportunities.
“It’s vitally important that the Government really starts to break down the barriers to international trade for businesses as this was one area of the survey that was particularly downbeat. Firms that export give themselves a greater chance of growing and that, in turn, has a positive knock-on effect for the regional and national economy.”
Steve Harcourt, director of Prime Accountants Group, said: “The labour market has proved to be very robust over the past three years. The huge concern when Covid first hit was that it would send unemployment spiralling and, yet, here we are three years on and the reverse is true and it is actually a case of businesses not being able to find the staff to help them grow.
“So, while the sentiment within the QES is positive around employment and recruitment, it remains to be seen whether those businesses that want to take on people and grow will be able to do so due to the very tight labour market.”
Sue Robinson, business intelligence lead at Warwickshire County Council, said: “It is great to see that there is such confidence among companies across the county and the city, particularly when there is such uncertainty in the national and global economies.
“This remains a great place to start and grow a business – in any sector – and that is why we are seeing such a positive response to the QES in Coventry and Warwickshire.”