Although optimism in the economy fell nationwide in June, Lloyds Bank’s latest Business Barometer survey found business confidence to be highest in the North-west.
With inflation now at a 40-year high, business confidence is at its lowest level nationally since March 2021 during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, confidence for June remains in line with long-term average figures for the Business Barometer, the high-street bank found.
All regions of the UK reported a drop in confidence in June, except for the East of England, with London and the West Midlands seeing the sharpest fall; North-west businesses are now Britain’s most optimistic, after confidence fell a meagre 2%.
A key positive from the figures was the continued strength in hiring intentions across all regions in spite of the more mixed outlook for the future.
Martyn Kendrick, Regional Director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented on the survey results, saying:
“With inflation rising, supply chain challenges and labour shortages continuing to bite, businesses are facing into tough economic headwinds. But the resilience of firms across the North West is once again shining through.
“Businesses are clearly focused on growth. Hiring intentions remain strong and management teams are exploring opportunities to expand into new markets.
“Tools like asset and invoice financing can help firms manage cashflow and create working capital to invest in sustainable, long-term growth opportunities. We’re here to help the region’s businesses navigate this challenging economic period and build the foundation for growth in the months and years to come.”
Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, added:
“Business confidence declined this month, suggesting that the momentum for growth is moderating.
“Firms remain broadly positive but face several challenges ahead, including concerns around higher costs and slowing demand. If these trends continue, businesses may have less scope to pass on higher costs to support their margins.”