Posted by

Caroline Williams, CEO, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

09 Oct 2014

Each quarter about 400 businesses across the East of England respond to the Chambers of Commerce quarterly survey. In Norfolk, we receive about 100 responses from businesses in both the manufacturing and services sector. The large sample size is one of the main reasons why the survey has come to be regarded as an accurate guide to the health of the economy in the region.

 

This quarter both sectors in Norfolk and the East of England reporting reduced order books for UK and overseas sales, and this has resulted in a slight dip in confidence since the previous quarter’s strong results.  Despite this note of caution, investment in plant and machinery and training remains constant and more manufacturers are reporting that they are operating at full capacity. 

 

Recruitment remains an issue, with many organisations reporting difficulty in sourcing skilled staff.  As skill shortages put pressure on existing wages, this may result in pay settlements becoming of greater concern. Both sectors are reporting that they anticipate a slow down in recruitment over the next 3 months.  Inflation and interest rates have also been indicated as areas of concern for businesses in our region.

 

Whilst the results are not as positive as the previous quarter, the Norfolk and East of England business communities will continue to strive towards economic growth and prosperity.

 

Our results this quarter results are very similar to the overall national totals. They found that the strong upsurge in growth at the start of the year appears to have run its course; this is particular true for manufacturing and for all exports. However, the economy is still predicted to grow and if the right policies are implemented by government there is no reason why it can’t expand at a fast pace. The BCC published its election manifesto last month and we would encourage all parties to show support for the proposals to create the best possible environment for growth and enterprise.