With business confidence increasing to its highest level since April 2017, hiring intentions are on the up and pay growth expectations reached a three-year high.
The latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer revealed that the further easing of Covid restrictions had a massive impact on certain sectors. For example, services confidence saw the greatest month-on-month increase, rising by 8 points to 36% (the highest level since January 2018).
Both manufacturing and construction also saw a rise in confidence, rising by 7 points to 40%.
Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented, “Business confidence reaching its highest level in over four years tells a positive story about the country’s economic recovery. This confidence is driven by the continued success of the vaccine rollout, the removal of lockdown restrictions and adjustments to self-isolation rules.
Gareth Oakley, Managing Director for Business Banking, Lloyds Bank, added, “Since the start of the year business confidence has been increasing, and August has been a particularly strong month. Many of the regions have seen significant upticks in confidence and it’s encouraging that Northern Ireland has moved back into positive territory.
“It is clear there is still some level of uncertainty on inflation and the impact of price pressures, but with further boosts to confidence in the services, manufacturing and construction sectors we can be hopeful that demand across all sectors will drive consumption throughout the rest of the year. The last few months of the year will be pivotal to the future of UK economic growth and we remain by the side of businesses as the country continues to reopen.”
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