Welsh firms’ hiring intentions increased to their highest level in four months in September, boosted by rising optimism about the economy, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
The latest report reveals that a net balance of 23 per cent of the nation’s companies are looking to create more jobs in the year to come, an increase of nine points compared with August and the highest level since May.
Companies in Wales also reported higher levels of economic optimism at 18 per cent, four points higher than last month’s figure of 14 per cent. Companies’ confidence in their own business prospects remained steady at 30 per cent.
Together this gives an overall confidence figure of 24 per cent, which is two points above last month’s recording of 22 per cent.
September’s survey – which was carried out between 3rd and 16th September – found that a net balance of 15 per cent of firms said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a positive impact on their expectations for business activity. This compares with a net balance of nine per cent that thought it was having a negative impact a month ago.
Across the UK, confidence rose six points to 29 per cent as firms’ optimism about the economy bounced back after August’s dip, increasing nine points to 26 per cent. Companies’ confidence in their own business prospects rose three points to 32 per cent.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Andrew Kemp, regional director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in Wales, said:
“Welsh businesses are growing increasingly optimistic about the economy overall, and on the potential impact of key events such as Brexit, so it’s positive to see them act on that increased confidence by planning to hire more staff.
“Ongoing uncertainty remains a potential factor that may be weighing on firms’ own prospects, but the fact that overall confidence remains steady shows a resilience that is valuable at a time when long-term planning can be difficult.”