The jobs market in Lancashire and the North West remains robust, according to the latest survey by recruitment firm Manpower.
With an outlook of plus six per cent , job prospects in the region are just one point below the national average, and have shown a steady performance over the last year.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,103 UK employers.
It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter. It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government.
Greg Hollis, operations manager at Manpower UK, said: “Thanks to the improving economy, the jobs market in the North West has established an even-keel over the course of 2014, from a low of +4 per cent at the start of the year. Going into 2015, demand for candidates in Manchester remains consistent with the previous quarter, while there has been a marked improvement in the Wigan area, particularly in manufacturing roles.
“In Liverpool, Merseyside and Cheshire, there has also been a marked increase in manufacturing and production vacancies, and while these are attracting large volumes of applications, employers are struggling to find those with the skills they need.”
The national picture in early 2015 is positive.
The national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment indicates that, with an Outlook of +seven per cent , 2015 will begin even more optimistically than the fourth quarter of 2014, when the Outlook was +six per cent .
A spokesman for the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said today : “The Manpower survey results concur with what our own Quarterly Economic Survey has been saying throughout the year.
“As the economy has improved, businesses have felt more confident about recruiting and investing in their businesses so it’s no surprise to see this positive employment outlook.
“We would also agree with the skills shortage issue and it’s one that we must work hard to address in order to attract greater investment to Lancashire and the wider region.
“Just over half of businesses responding to our last economic survey said that they had experienced recruitment difficulties, with skilled manual and technical positions proving the most difficult to fill.”