As per the latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer, employers in England’s North West and East experienced the greatest boost in confidence.
Companies were concerned about inflation and workforce shortages. Manufacturing, services, and construction companies, on the other hand, expressed greater confidence in the recovery’s continuation.
After a poor response in July’s poll, business confidence in Northern Ireland improved in the monthly survey of 1,200 firms, which was conducted between August 2 and 16.
“Business confidence hitting its best level in over four years offers a positive tale about the country’s economic recovery,” said Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
The sustained success of the vaccination rollout, the removal of lockdown limits, and changes to self-isolation guidelines have all contributed to this optimism.
In August, confidence rose in nine of the twelve UK regions and nationalities, with notably large increases in the North West (up 26 points to 64 percent) and the East (up 14 points to 39 percent).
Smaller increases were noted in the North East, which increased by 6 percentage points to 46%, and London, which increased by 4 percentage points to 41%. Since the poll sample was increased in 2018, confidence in the North West, East of England, and North East was at an all-time high.
The remaining three regions showed minor drops in confidence, with the West Midlands at 27% and Yorkshire & the Humber at 26%, respectively, while the East Midlands witnessed a larger 10-point drop to 28%.
Recent official statistics corroborate the increased mood. Jobs data from the Office for National Statistics earlier this month revealed that the labour market is still “rebounding briskly.”
As furlough support ceases and tax receipts rise, the government’s indebtedness has decreased.
However, the Lloyds barometer, like previous poll data, revealed that inflation – which unexpectedly slowed in the year to July, falling to 2% from 2.5 percent in June – remains a concern.
“It’s apparent that there’s still some uncertainty about inflation and the impact of price pressures,” said Gareth Oakley, Lloyds’ managing director of commercial banking. “The last months of the year will be critical for the UK’s economic growth.