Businesses across Lincolnshire are showing increasing optimism for manufacturing and service sector firms, according to the latest results from the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), commissioned by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and the University of Lincoln.
The latest business survey shows a significant upturn in investment, with a greater proportion of businesses revising their investment plans for the new year.
Results show that 34% of businesses are looking to invest in equipment and machinery – its highest percentage since performance tracking began in 2009.
The survey, undertaken by the Lincolnshire Research Observatory, shows that businesses in Lincolnshire continue to remain optimistic, with figures from the latest survey once again showing steady performance in areas such as sales, profitability and turnover.
Domestic demand remains strong, with approximately 41% of businesses reporting that UK sales had improved, and around 38% reporting an increase in orders and bookings.
This quarter has also seen a rise in recruiting, with one in three businesses increasing their workforce and only 7% decreasing the size of their workforce. Some 23% of businesses are expecting their workforce to increase in the next quarter.
Overall, businesses appear to feel positive about 2016, with a greater proportion of businesses expecting their profitability and turnover to remain the same in the next 12 months.
Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “As we look to 2016 we must work hard to bring even more confidence back into the market.
“As a chamber we’re still working tirelessly on behalf of our members and the wider business.
“It is good to see that businesses are looking ahead to 2016 and preparing for growth in 2016, by investing in machinery and equipment.
“One in four businesses have also revised their training investment upwards for this quarter, in recognition that training can help boost skills and productivity.
“In Quarter 3 of 2015, we saw that overseas and sales orders fell negatively for the first time since reporting began in 2009.
“This quarter, we are pleased to see small margins of improvement with one in five businesses reporting an increase in orders from overseas over last quarter. However, this balance still remains on the negative side for orders and advanced custom.
“There are still major challenges facing the manufacturing sector, particularly in the face of worsening global circumstances and the strength of sterling.
“While the UK economy will continue to rely on our dynamic service sector, it is crucial that the manufacturing sector continues to innovate and export.
“We continue to advocate the growth of exporting in the East Midlands, and through our dedicated International Trade Experts, we are here to ensure that businesses receive the help they need to export.”
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at the Lincolnshire County Council, added: “Overall this is a very positive picture and bodes well for 2016.
“The county council will continue to play its part by encouraging people to invest in our county and building stronger relationships with other countries, bringing opportunities in new markets. I’m sure that, if we all work together, we take the county economy to new heights.”
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