Businesses across Sheffield City Region, especially in the
manufacturing sector, have a renewed optimism for growth, according
to a latest survey.
More than 200 businesses from the region took part in the latest
British Chambers of Commerce's Quarterly Economic Survey (QES),
which looks at business confidence in the first three months of
Manufacturers showed significant increases in both UK and export
sales and orders, as well as improved expectations for employment
and investment in machinery as well as training.
Meanwhile, progress in the services sector remains steady and it
has not enjoyed the same amount of growth with exports sales and
orders reduced. UK sales see similar levels to the final quarter of
2011, but UK orders have slightly increased, while employment
expectations and investment indicate slight improvements.
What is pleasing for the manufacturing and services sector is
that both are showing healthier turnover and profitability with
significant increases outlined since the last quarter.
In comparison to the BCC's survey results on a national level,
Sheffield City Region fairs better in exports, UK sales and orders,
employment expectations and turnover.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, said:
"In many areas, the survey results are very pleasing, especially
for manufacturing exports and it's great to see this region leading
"As a Chamber we have really pushed the importance of exports
and international trade and this was a key theme at the recent
Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield. It is therefore
pleasing to see businesses starting to take advantage of the
opportunities available to them around the world.
"March was our highest month for three years for export
documentation to all areas of the world excluding Europe and the
USA and the 2011/12 year is more than ten per cent up on 2010/11 so
the trends are in the right direction.
"Clearly the results show that more work now needs to be done
for the service sector to help get their export figures to a higher
level. This will be an area as a Chamber we can focus on with
"These figures continue something we have been seeing in the
region for some months, despite the national headlines, and we hope
they lead to long-term sustainable growth for the region and the
country. I would like to see a bit more attention being placed on
"It would be great if everybody could be a little more
discretionary about buying a few more home produced goods and food.
I'm not saying we shouldn't be importing because that's part of any
free trading nation, which I fully support, but about achieving a
slightly better balance to improve the trade deficit."
Commenting on the national results, John Longworth, director
general of the BCC, added: "It's encouraging to see that businesses
are feeling more confident at the start of 2012 than they were at
the end of 2011. But that underlines the need to support and foster
growth and investment by companies to ensure that the increases we
have seen in the first quarter continue.
"The UK economy is still facing huge challenges and the recovery
is much too slow. The UK has the potential to recover, but to
achieve that the government has to set businesses free to