According to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) the economy has made progress over the first quarter of 2013. However, there obviously remains a lot to do – but responses from more than 7,000 businesses have shown that in many key sectors, things are moving in the right direction.
This is a new survey which aims to show how different sectors are managing quarter to quarter. This time round, it has shown that most key balances in the manufacturing and service sector have strengthened in the first quarter of 2013. One particularly strong area was the export balances in services, with deliveries and orders close to their all time high.
The survey also shows that investment and business confidence are also up within many business sectors. Though cash flow remains weak, it is now positive for both manufacturing and service sector businesses. However, many areas remain below their pre-recession levels, showing that there is still a long way to go to ensure proper recovery. Employment is one area where there has been an overall weakening in the first quarter.
However, these findings show that in general, economic outlook is improving gradually. It also backs up predictions that growth in 2013 as a whole will be positive but subdued, though UK businesses will remain resilient, with many looking to invest and increase exports over the coming year.
In response to the findings of the survey, the BCC’s Director General, John Longworth, is urging the government to support business confidence in order to foster the gradual economic recovery of 2013. With the Budget hailed by many as one that will hopefully help businesses, and with the launch of the new Business Bank, there are many fingers crossed that this will come true.