Exports offer encouragement as latest economic survey shows effect of Brexit uncertainty
Economic conditions remain subdued, but there were encouraging signs on export sales and employment levels following two quarters of weak economic activity.
The latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the three Lancashire 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 Q2 QES results published by the British Chambers of Commerce, which highlight further weakening in UK exports for the third successive quarter.
There was added good news for the Lancashire economy as firms in both sectors reported increased workforce levels in Q2, although more than half of those recruiting were still having difficulties filling roles.
Pressure on prices also eased over the period, with manufacturers less concerned about exchange rates and raw material costs than at the start of the year.
However, many other key indicators remained static, suggesting that business investment and decision-making are still in limbo ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.
Alan Welsh policy manager at the North and 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 up front cost of doing business, deliver major infrastructure projects, and unblock the arteries of Britain’s skills and immigration systems.”