BUSINESS confidence in Yorkshire held steady last month, according to a new study.
The latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking found that companies in the region reported higher economic optimism, which rose three points to five per cent. However, there was lower confidence in their trading prospects, which fell six points to six per cent.
Taken together, this gives an overall confidence figure of five per cent.
Hiring intentions took a knock with a net balance of minus six per cent of businesses in the region expecting to hire more staff during the next year, down 10 points on last month.
Across the UK, overall confidence rose four points to six per cent as firms’ confidence in their own prospects climbed two points to 15 per cent.
Kelly Green, the regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s good to see businesses remaining optimistic overall in their outlook. Confidence has generally held steady in the region, despite a marginal dip on the previous month.”
Ms Green added yesterday: “However, it will be important for companies reporting lower confidence in trading prospects to manage their working capital carefully, especially in the coming months – when many firms will be expecting seasonal spikes in demand.”
Businesses in the West Midlands showed the most confidence, at 16 per cent ahead of the South-West at 15 per cent, and East Midlands (13 per cent).
Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of minus three per cent, nine points below the national average.
Meanwhile, overall business confidence improved in all four broad sectors, with the largest increases being in the construction sector, which rose eight points to 18 per cent and the manufacturing sector, which increased seven points to five per cent.
Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist, at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Both business confidence and optimism about the wider economy have picked up this month, with economic optimism reaching a three month high as concerns about the impact of the UK leaving the EU eased.
“However, there was a slight step down in hiring intentions, which could reflect concerns about ongoing economic uncertainty.”