Service jobs could be created as confidence of Northamptonshire firms rises

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber

A survey of Northamptonshire businesses shows many employers are looking to recruit during 2014

According to the latest Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce quarterly economic survey (QES), businesses, particularly those in the service sector, were optimistic about plans to increase their workforce.

The survey reveals every service company that responded expects their workforce to increase or stay the same in the next three months.

Meanwhile 30 per cent of the manufacturing respondents were expecting to increase their staff over the same period.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber, said: “The first QES report of 2014 gives a positive picture overall and highlights the fact that businesses are entering the New Year with renewed optimism.

“Confidence is high and companies, particularly those in the service sector are now more willing to recruit and invest, leading to growth. It illustrates that Northamptonshire companies are playing their part in helping the economy to recover.

“However the Government needs to ensure businesses have access to cashflow and introduce business-friendly initiatives if companies are to expand and truly succeed.”

The findings from the latest QES contains responses from 96 county firms about their performance, concerns and experiences of trading in the last three months of 2013.

Northamptonshire businesses continue to show confidence in both turnover and profitability over the next 12 months, with strong performances from those in the service sector.

The survey shows 98 per cent of respondents expect turnover to improve or stay the same over the next 12 months, up from 95 per cent in the previous quarter. A total of 74 per cent expected profitability to improve over the same period, up from 62 per cent.

Of the service sector businesses who responded, results were once again much better than the previous quarter with 91 per cent reporting that sales had increased or stayed the same, up from 83 per cent.

Other findings included:

Export sales and orders - 65 per cent of manufacturers reported increased export sales in last three months.

Service sector - 93 per cent in the service sector reported an increase in export sales over the last three months and 90 per cent reported an increase in advance orders.

Cashflow - 44 per cent of manufacturing respondents and 21 per cent of service sector respondents reported an improvement during the quarter.

Investment - 24 per cent of service sector respondents said they planned to invest in plant and machinery and 44 per cent in training.

Price rises - 29 per cent of manufacturers expected prices to rise, compared with 37 per cent of service firms.

Main concerns - Overheads and competition were the main concern for both sectors.