Jobs boost with Yorkshire firms set to hire at faster rate than any other region in the country

Confidence among Yorkshire’s businesses has slipped slightly over the course of the year, new research claims.

The ICAEW’s Business Confidence Monitor for the last quarter of 2021 showed optimism remains high after the coronavirus pandemic but was at a lower level than the peaks reached earlier this year.

The pandemic inflicted “severe” damage on businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber, the report said, but this was being reversed by rebounds in activity since restrictions eased.

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Over the next year, the region’s firms expect staff numbers to grow by the highest rates of any UK nation or region.

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Businesses in the region reported that both domestic sales and exports grew in the year to Q4, by 3.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, while domestic sales are forecast to grow at a record 6.6 per cent year-on-year. Exports are also expected to grow.

Four in 10 companies said that the availability of non-management skills was an increasing challenge, a likely reflection of bottlenecks as companies competed for new hires to meet demand after the pandemic. This has been a particular issue for the region’s manufacturing sector.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw the biggest increase in input prices of any UK region or nation, at 3.9 per cent, with firms planning to increase prices charged to customers by 2.5 per cent accordingly.

Jobs are being created faster in Yorkshire than elsewhere.

Dr James Callaghan, ICAEW regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “High levels of confidence from businesses in our region suggest a strong recovery into 2022, but this report also makes clear the damage that the pandemic inflicted on Yorkshire and the Humber.”