Local economy ‘turning corner’ as confidence rises

BUSINESS confidence is rising in the region, according to a new quarterly survey, which suggests that the local economy “may be turning a corner”.

Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest quarterly economic survey found that 61 per cent of companies said that current turnover was now higher or significantly higher than the start of the recession, up from around 42 per cent in the previous quarter.

The Chamber said that companies reporting UK sales and orders were up on the first quarter, while exports too had improved. The research found that the service sector is “leading the way” on almost all measures.

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The findings, conducted in partnership with Leeds University Business School, were based on a survey of nearly 900 businesses in the region, which collectively employ around 400,000 people.

Mark Goldstone, head of business representation and policy at the Chamber, said: “This quarter results show that the region’s businesses are starting to feel much more confident about the next 12 months. Nearly two thirds of companies of all sizes are reporting that turnover is higher than the beginning of the recession in 2008 and a similar percentage are saying they expect turnover and profitability will improve in the next 12 months.

“There is no doubt that things are still very tough for some companies and recovery still very fragile, but there are signs at last that we may have turned a corner.”