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Northants services sector and manufacturers see rise in UK orders and investment in training in the latest QES

Posted: 13/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The county’s services sector and manufacturers reveal a rise in UK orders and investment in training in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

The survey for Q2 2017 was conducted between May 22 and June 12 this year and contains responses from 80 businesses employing 3,031 people from across the county.

UK orders for both the manufacturing and services sectors rose during the quarter with the services sector seeing the greatest increase up from 16% in Q1 to 32% in Q2. There was also further good news for the services sector which reported an increase in their UK sales activity for the second consecutive quarter.

Encouragingly the manufacturing sector reported a sharp increase in their export sales – up from 14% in the previous quarter to 40%. This is the highest figure reported by the sector for three years.

The services sector revealed its headcount grew during the quarter and although headcount figures for the manufacturing sector decreased slightly they still remain at a high level. Manufacturers also indicated their hiring intentions would rise during the next quarter.

Just over half of businesses within both sectors reported they had attempted to recruit staff during the quarter. Of those businesses, 100% of manufacturers and 61% of service sector firms reported they had experienced difficulties recruiting staff.

During the second quarter manufacturers reported a slight improvement in their cashflow and the services sector reported a rise in investment in plant/machinery. Both sectors also revealed increases in investment for training during the period.

When questioned 95% of service sector firms and 86% of manufacturers reported their turnover had either increased or remained consistent with the first quarter.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “It is pleasing to see that the services sector has experienced increases in UK sales activity and UK orders and that manufacturers have seen a sharp rise in export sales.

“It is also encouraging to see firms trying to grow their businesses although the reports that some organisations have experienced difficulties in recruiting staff is a concern. To help address this Northamptonshire Chamber has been running a series of careers fairs this year to enable businesses to promote their sectors to young people across the county.”

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