Positive forecast for Sheffield City Region’s business economy in the second quarter of 2016

Published 12th July 2016 at 9:17am

The Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey – an authoritative private sector business survey, based on nearly 400 responses from firms across the region – suggests that regional economic growth was generally positive in the second quarter of 2016, and that firms held a positive outlook on the regional economy looking forward.

The survey – run by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), four Chambers of Commerce and Sheffield University Management School, and sponsored by RBS South Yorkshire & North Derbyshire – gives a snapshot of how the regional economy performed in Q2 of 2016.

Key highlights from the survey include:

  • Manufacturing firms reported that they saw improved export sales as well as an increase in advance orders. While the service sector saw a slight decrease in domestic and overseas sales from the previous quarter, they saw an increase in cash flow like their counterparts in the manufacturing sector.
  • Both sectors reported that they undertook recruitment efforts over the last quarter, with a slight rise in recruitment in the manufacturing sector. Recruitment was predominantly for full-time, permanent positions in manufacturing and temporary, part-time jobs in services. Looking forward, both sectors reported that they were looking to recruit during the next quarter.
  • While slightly fewer manufacturers reported their imminent intent to invest in training from Q1, more firms in the service sector reported that they plan to do so.
  • Both sectors were confident that turnover would improve over the next 12 months, though this figure is slightly lower in the service sector compared to this time last year.
  • Businesses reported that the issues of most concern were the EU referendum, the reduction of red tape and regulation and broadband connectivity. In light of the government’s rollout of superfast broadband, there was broad satisfaction with the speed and reliability of broadband across the region.

Following an analysis of the results, Professor Andrew Simpson of the Sheffield University Management School stated: “Overall the results show a confident regional view of the economy. The forward-looking predictions are likely to see some measure of fluctuation in the short term following the referendum, and the next quarter’s survey will be critical in understanding the effects of the vote to leave the EU.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “These positive results from the Sheffield City Region’s business community will help us to continue to influence strategy and inform the Sheffield City Region’s approach to local, regional and national decision-makers and foreign direct investors. The Quarterly Economic Survey helps us to shape policy and our support for our valuable businesses here in the region; with these results driving us forward, we will continue to work together with the business community as we further solidify our position as a truly competitive centre of business excellence.”

The results were presented today, 12 July, at the Sheffield City Region QES Breakfast which served as a backdrop to two panel discussions on the impact of Brexit, and on broadband connectivity, to address the most important business concerns highlighted by respondents in Q1.

The Sheffield City Region’s businesses will be surveyed again in August which will help to reveal any potential impact of Brexit on the business economy. The Q3 survey opens on 22 August and runs through 12 September 2016. Everyone who responds will be entered in a prize draw to win free flights to Berlin. Visit www.screconomy.org.uk for further information.

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