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North-east companies taking on more workers
NORTH-EAST companies are increasing their workforces at the highest rate since the recession hit, according to a business survey.
Staffing levels are increasing more rapidly than at any time during the past four years, reflecting the downward trend in regional unemployment statistics.
But the North East Chamber of Commerce’s (NECC) quarterly economic survey (QES) also shows that during the third quarter growth levels slowed compared to the first half of the year.
The first half of the year saw the largest increase in business positivity since 2008, but this optimism appears to have been affected by a slowdown in manufacturing growth and export orders.
The QES, produced with Barclays, is a trends survey which measures the region’s economic health and direction across 11 indicators, with any score above zero indicating improving trading conditions.
The third quarter QES demonstrates that regional service sector growth continues to outpace North-East manufacturers, which again reported disappointing sales in the UK marketplace.
But with the exception of the first half of the year, scores remain higher than at any time since early 2008.
However, investment continues to be weak, with plant investment once again negative after creeping into positive territory for the past two quarters.
The third quarter QES, published today, includes a comparison between Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas that continues to show a slightly healthier picture in Tees Valley on several indicators.
The indicators demonstrate that businesses in the south of the region have much more robust plant and training investment expectations than in the North-East LEP area.
NECC director of policy Ross Smith said: “With strong performance on employment and export performance, we can see North-East businesses working hard to generate a recovery for the UK.
“Amid this continuing uncertainty, it is vital businesses see the same level of commitment from decision makers to create conditions conducive to stronger growth.