The results of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) from the Lancashire Chambers of Commerce show that although economic conditions remain subdued, there were encouraging signs of improvement in export sales and employment levels following two quarters of weak economic activity.
The Q2 2019 survey, compiled by the county’s three Chambers of Commerce in association with MHA Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, reveals an improved export performance for both manufacturing and service sector firms. This is in contrast to the national QES results published this week by the British Chambers of Commerce, which show overall UK exports weakening for a third successive quarter.
There was added good news for the Lancashire economy as firms in both sectors reported increased workforce levels in Q2. However, employment expectations for the 3 months ahead (Q3) were not so strong, suggesting that pre-Brexit stock piling may have increased capacity and boosted employment in the first half of the year.
Commenting on the results, Alan Welsh Policy Manager at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber said:
“The Q2 results show a mixed picture for Lancashire firms, with static domestic growth and fragile business confidence being tempered by a boost in exports and increased workforce levels. It is encouraging that Lancashire’s manufacturers appear to be doing well in comparison with the national QES figures, showing how crucial this sector is to the Lancashire economy.
“However, we would echo the call of the British Chambers of Commerce for the next Prime Minister to introduce a bold growth agenda here at home. The next government must hit the ground running and introduce measures to reduce the upfront cost of doing business, deliver major infrastructure projects, and unblock the arteries of Britain’s skills and immigration systems.”
About this Quarter’s Survey:
The Q2 2019 Survey was conducted by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; Chamber of Commerce East Lancashire; and Lancaster & District Chamber in conjunction with MHA Moore & Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.
- The survey collection period was from 20th May to 10th June 2019.
- Responses were received from 317 companies across Lancashire employing 33,391 people.
- From the manufacturing sector, 94 business (30%) employing 16,400 people responded to the survey.
- From the service sector, 223 businesses (70%) employing 16,991 people responded to the survey.
202 companies (64%) were involved in exports.