The results of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the Chamber of Commerce show that the county’s two-tier growth trend continues, with economic recovery still being driven by services and domestic demand.
The new survey, compiled by the county’s three Chambers in association with Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants, reveals modest growth in the Lancashire economy but the pace of growth in both sectors has slowed for the second consecutive quarter.
Global uncertainty, weakened demand from China and the strength of the pound are some of the factors likely hindering manufacturers’ performance.Babs Murphy
Overall the results are disappointing as most key economic balances weakened, notably in the manufacturing sector. Of particular concern was the contraction in manufacturing exports where both sales and orders balances reached a four year low. One of the few positives in this quarter’s results was the increase in both sector’s workforce levels. Despite slower growth over the last two quarters, firms are still recruiting and reporting workforce levels are up. Business confidence also remains high in both sectors, although stronger amongst service businesses.
Commenting on the results, Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “The Q3 results show that Lancashire businesses still face some major challenges.
“Global uncertainty, weakened demand from China and the strength of the pound are some of the factors likely hindering manufacturers’ performance. If the manufacturing sector has entered a prolonged period of slow growth, then closing the trade deficit and improving the current account deficit will become more difficult.
“However, if we want to make sure this period of two-tier growth is only temporary then we must help businesses get access to the working and growth capital that they require.”