The latest economic data from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has revealed that business activity among local organisations declined in Q4 of 2023, with employment and sales having both fallen from Q3’s figures.
The Quarterly Economic Survey, run by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, is part of the national British Chambers of Commerce research and serves as a barometer of business performance across the nation. The findings, categorised into service sector firms and manufacturers, help to inform decision makers including the Treasury and Bank of England.
The latest report found that 38 per cent of manufacturers and 30 per cent of service sector firms in the area saw a decline in UK sales, with service sector firms also experiencing overseas sales declining at their sharpest rate (40 per cent) since the pandemic.
Despite this, service sector firms are committed to staff training, with 32 per cent increasing their investment in this area.
Neither the service nor manufacturing sectors reported an anticipated profit loss in Q1 of 2024, with many firms optimistic about the New Year.
While inflation fell in Q4 2023, it remained a main concern for business leaders in West Yorkshire. Interest rates and ongoing overseas conflicts were also cited as negatively impacting business performance.
The fieldwork was carried out following the news that the Government had cancelled HS2 to the north of England, something 33 per cent of business leaders in Yorkshire said was bad news for their enterprise.
Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “While quarter four presented some challenges with inflation still squeezing many organisations across our region, it is extremely encouraging to see that investment for staff training in service sector firms increased by over 30 per cent.
“Upskilling and training staff is crucial to see future growth, setting us up for a strong 2024 to get back on track and back to delivering the exceptional business successes that Yorkshire is known for.
“In 2023 we as a Chamber had a huge focus on skills, working with our partners at the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, researching, planning and beginning to implement the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) for West Yorkshire. This is a key project that we will continue to work closely with our education providers on throughout 2024 to ensure we get things right for generations to come.”
To read the full Quarterly Economic Report for Q4 2023, please click here.