Why business confidence bounced back in Yorkshire during December

Business confidence in Yorkshire bounced back during December, rising nine points to seven per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Kelly Green: 'Great to see confidence levels returning to positive'.

Companies in the region reported higher confidence in their business prospects at eight per cent and higher economic optimism at seven per cent.

Hiring intentions showed that a net balance of four per cent of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year. This compares with a net balance of five per cent of firms expecting to decrease staff levels last month.

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Kelly Green, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s great to see both confidence levels and hiring intentions returning to positive figures this month – which puts Yorkshire firms on a good footing going into 2020. The growth in optimism could be attributed to pre-election hopes of a decisive result that would provide greater clarity on the likely course of Brexit and the economy, allowing businesses to plan ahead with more certainty.”

Across the region, businesses were evenly split over whether the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a positive or negative impact on their expectations for business activity.

Nationally, overall business confidence saw a marked improvement in the manufacturing sector, increasing 17 points to 27 per cent. Confidence in the retail sector increased by one point to 22 per cent.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “As we come to the end of what has undoubtedly been a turbulent year, it is encouraging to see sustained increases in overall business confidence and the sharp improvement in manufacturing confidence.

“There is now clarity over the UK’s departure from the EU, but the focus will turn to whether a new trade agreement can be negotiated during the transition period which currently runs until the end of next year.”