Quarterly Economic Survey

Welcome to the Quarterly Economic Report for Q1 of 2022

Firstly, I would like to thank all of those who took part and shared their insights. The information provided is incredibly valuable in helping us to assess what support is needed locally and regionally, as well as informing the British Chamber’s national activities.

Secondly, it will come as no surprise that inflation, alongside rising energy costs and continued supply chain issues, has been a key factor affecting business performance this quarter.

We are currently experiencing a cost-of-doing-business crisis, with many unable to keep up with spiralling costs, while further support is needed to help businesses still recovering from Brexit and Covid-19.

Firms are also reporting continued recruitment struggles, including challenges related to skills gaps with those entering the jobs market.

It is vital that industry works with education to plug those gaps, and that employers are open to alternative methods, such as flexi-job apprenticeships and training programmes.

Our Chamber has recently become one of 15 organisations to be named a flexi-job agency. Our Chamber Talent service can help businesses across the country to offer flexible, relevant apprenticeship opportunities to help futureproof our British industries.

If you would like to discuss any of these findings in further detail, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Martin Hathaway
Managing Director
Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Executive Summary Q1 2022

Domestic Sales

The pace of growth in UK sales plateaued in the last quarter for both services and manufacturing, although net balances remain at pre-Covid levels indicating underlying demand remains.

Export Sales

International sales remain subdued as companies continue to deal with the fallout from the pandemic. Companies continue to face disruption in their trade with the EU, some of this is down to haulage disruption and increasing costs. Looking forward, manufacturing firms are indicating an uptick in orders as travel restrictions ease.

Employment

Recruitment difficulties are reported by nearly 70% of companies across our region leaving firms struggling to fill vacancies.

Investment

Companies are most likely to be directing investment towards new technology followed closely by investment into new talent pipelines and also into development of existing staff. This is likely being driven by ongoing recruitment challenges and may help to increase productivity of companies across our region.

Business Confidence

Companies are most likely to be Inflationary pressures driven by energy, transport costs and labour shortages are the stand out features this quarter. 87% of manufacturers say raw material prices are a major concern this quarter equalling the record high set last quarter. Cost pressures are reflected in cash flow with many firms reporting this has worsened in the last quarter, this is most acute with manufacturers and business to consumer facing companies.

Business Costs & Concerns

Despite all of the headwinds, business confidence held up in the last quarter, perhaps an indication that many see current market conditions as a short-term barrier to growth.

Get a seat at the table!

What?

The Quarterly Economic Survey is a regular snapshot of key information, such as local business activity, confidence and issues, which policy makers and government ministers use to inform their decisions and thinking. We incorporate statistics, based on data contributed by members, on sales, orders, export, employment and the impact of economic factors such as inflation and exchange rates to provide ministers with an accurate and up to date analysis of business in the Mid Yorkshire region.

Why?

If you want to see change and influence policy on the business issues that are important to your business then you need to ensure that you are feeding the information into the system. Participating in the QES is an effective strategy to have your voice heard by those who can do something about the business issues you care about.

How?

Every quarter, we encourage Chamber members to participate in the online survey. All responses are anonymous so you can speak freely (if you wish to speak openly and directly to policy makers you should consider attending our Area Council Meetings). We analyse this data to create the QES report which is then sent to key government departments and financial institutions such as The Treasury and The Bank of England. The QES Report is also a very useful resource to inform your own business. 

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