Northamptonshire Chamber welcomes the recent positive gross domestic product(GDP) figures which show the UK economy has expanded by 0.7% in the final quarter of 2013.
These figures released by the Office for National Statistics(ONS) reveal that GDP is estimated to have increased by 1.9% last year, its strongest rate since 2007.
The largest contribution came from the service sector, which increased by 0.8%.
“The statistics are in line with what businesses in Northamptonshire have been telling the Chamber in our QES”
In Northamptonshire firms have been telling the Chamber in our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2013 they have been experiencing a strong fourth quarter and are optimistic about the outlook for the year ahead.
Our independent business report shows companies from both the manufacturing, and in particular the service sector, are expressing high confidence levels in terms of turnover and profitability over the next 12 months, and that in turn will continue to spur on investment and growth.
We already know from earlier ONS statistics released last December and in January that unemployment has been falling and employment rising in Northamptonshire.
In fact many of the firms in our survey told us they had created employment opportunities with a majority of them for full-time positions leading to an improvement in the local labour market.
Furthermore, there have also been strong performances in domestic and overseas sales.
Nationally, the positive announcement has led to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) raising its growth forecast for the UK from 1.9% to 2.4%.
“It is evident from our QES and the GDP result the economy is heading in the right direction”
Furthermore, it is also reassuring to know that the Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said the financial institution would no longer use employment as a main factor to raising its base interest rate which currently stands at 0.5%, but would instead take into account a wide range of other measures.
It is evident from our QES and the GDP result the economy is heading in the right direction and we are in a stronger position than 12 months ago.
At the Chamber, we look forward to seeing more companies in Northamptonshire grow and thrive, which will in lead to wealth and prosperity.
However, we must do all we can to help businesses by improving skills levels and supporting exporters to ensure firms continue to invest to ensure a strong economic recovery for the long-term.