Lancashire firms looking to expand in 2014

Growth: Companies are hoping to recruit extra staff
Growth: Companies are hoping to recruit extra staff
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Nearly a third of businesses in Lancashire expect to hire more staff in the next three months, according to a new report.

The Lancashire Quarterly Economic Survey provides further evidence that the Lancashire economy is continuing along the path to recovery, albeit slowly.

The new survey has been compiled by the county’s three Chambers of Commerce in association with Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.

It shows that despite some key balances weakening in the final quarter of 2013, overall prospects for growth look stronger than in the last two years.

The manufacturing sector has again outperformed the service sector in Q4, most notably with further growth in export sales and orders.

However, the service sector has had its strongest year for three years.

Thirty per cent of businesses said they expect their workforce levels to increase in the next three months. The figures also reveal a 16 per cent increase in the number of firms recruiting for full-time positions and a 13 per cent increase in firms trying to fill permanent vacancies.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “While the overall message from this survey is positive, there are risks that should prevent complacency creeping in.

“The eurozone’s basic problems have not yet been resolved, which could adversely impact our exporters, and inflation remains a major concern.”

Stephen Gregson, corporate finance director at Moore and Smalley, said: “We must hope that the tangible recovery we are seeing continues to have sustained momentum in 2014 and is driven by real increases in business investment and activity.”