Shropshire businesses are planning for growth despite the national economic climate continuing to struggle, a new survey reveals today.
The British Chambers of Commerce today published its Quarterly Economic Survey for the last three months, which provided bleak reading for those hoping for a sharp upturn in the nation’s economic fortunes. It says economic performance is ‘weak and inadequate’.
The survey applies to both the manufacturing and service sectors, after all the key balances it monitors – including domestic sales, exports and employment – weakened compared to the second quarter.
It says: “It is disturbing that the improvement in the export balances seen in previous quarters has suffered a setback.”
Manufacturing exports, it add, ‘recorded marked falls, and are now well below their average 2007 pre-recession levels’.
Shropshire, however, enjoyed some goods news, after its exports recovered in quarter three despite a fall in domestic sales.
Only 21 per cent of companies who responded to the survey reported working at full volume, fewer than in the previous quarter, with the remaining 79 per cent saying they were below capacity.
But of the 93 businesses surveyed in Shropshire – including four which employ more than 500 people – 29 per cent of business said they planned to grow their staff in the coming quarter, compared with 14 per cent considering shrinking, marking a positive balance of 15.2 per cent.
Twenty per cent of county businesses said they had added to their staff in the last three months, while 17 per cent had reduced their’s.
However, both figures compare unfavourably to the previous quarter which showed a positive balance of 16 percentage points in existing employment, and 19.1 in those planning future employment.
Shropshire Chamber managing director Richard Sheehan said: “In most cases the survey is positive compared to the previous quarter.
“The downturn in the domestic market has to be a concern and sends a message to the government, but the growth in exports is a very positive thing, even if it is a growth compared to a poor performance in the previous quarter.”
By Thom Kennedy