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Business confidence in the region hits a six year high
NORTH-EAST businesses are more confident about their future than at any time in the last six years, according to a leading industry report.
The North-East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) says companies are investing at their highest levels since 2007.
The NECC's Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) revealed firms have maintained sales and orders picked up in the first half of 2013, and are embarking on a five-year high in workforce training.
It says companies in the north of the region have increases sales and orders in the UK and abroad, with Tees Valley firms more optimistic about turnover and profits.
The report comes days after the service sector increased at its fastest pace for 16 years and the manufacturing sector remained close to a two-year high.
Ross Smith, NECC director of policy, said the region's businesses were fighting back and shaking off their recessionary shackles.
He said: “It is great to see an upward trend, and in each quarter we are seeing significant growth in key areas.
“The region's bounce back from the economic downturn continues to be led by our businesses and it is heartening to see the last quarter’s best set of results in five years backed up by another good period.
“The pattern of the scores is a little different this quarter with sales and orders growth slowing, but manufacturers continue to grow exports more quickly, while service businesses have shown stronger growth in domestic markets.
“Confidence is apparent in growth in investment plans, with scores at a six year peak on the back of strong service sector investment.”
The rising confidence is reflected at hydraulic adaptor maker and supplier, Samwon Tech Europe, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which has created new jobs to expand across Europe.
Garry Quickfall, Samwon managing director, said: “Like most companies, we had a significant downturn in the recession, but our support, that helps to reduces customers costs, meant when the market lifted we were well positioned.
“We have invested in increasing stock, recruited four apprentices, and all of our previous apprentices have been given full time jobs, which has allowed us to grow rapidly.”
Brian Foreman, head of Barclays mid-corporate banking team, which helped produce the QES, said the report was a positive sign for North-East business.
He said: “The strong investment really stands out because firms are much leaner after using the last few years to recalibrate.
“That meant a lot of investment plans were mothballed causing a lot of pent up demand, which is now starting to flow through.”
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