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Home / News & Opportunities / Chamber News

Date: 11/04/2016

Members, you all get involved in our Quarterly Economic Survey each quarter. Find out the result in our latest report for Q1 2016 and see how other businesses in your area are feeling.

The Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q1 2016 signals a positive year ahead according to Chief Executive, Mike Ashton.

Mike Ashton, Chief Executive of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The Herefordshire & Worcestershire Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) results for Q1 2016 signal a positive year ahead for business in the two counties.  Despite the many headwinds businesses face today from an uncertain global market, local businesses are remaining strong.

“It is great to see that a high percentage of respondents are looking to increase their workforce in the next three months. We are also seeing our businesses become more flexible, with more part-time employment becoming available as well as full time roles. While it is good news to see such positive employment plans for the future, most businesses have continued to struggle finding skilled manual / skilled technical staff. We have worked closely with Robin Walker MP to help bridge the gap between the business community and the education sector in Worcestershire. We are now working with Bill Wiggin MP in Herefordshire to do the same. I hope that when I introduce the QES in Q1 2017 we will see the situation improve.

“Businesses will also be thinking seriously about the upcoming EU Referendum and how to cast their vote. The Chamber held a snap poll at the Chamber Business Expo in March and found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of businesspeople polled would vote to stay in the EU. 24% wanted to leave and 11% were still unsure how they would vote. If you would like to find out more, join us at our Brexit Panel Debate sponsored by mfg Solicitors on Thursday 12 May.”

Other key findings from Q1 2016 include:
  • 89% of local businesses have seen domestic sales and export sales increase or remain constant over the last quarter
  • We also saw a 5% rise in exporters reporting an increase in sales
  • Investment in both training and machinery has remained low, a trend which has continued over the last year
  • 24% of companies experienced pressures to raise their prices – attributing this to pay settlements, raw materials and other overheads
  • 72% of service sector firms and 70% of manufacturers believe that turnover will improve over the next year
  • The largest concerns to businesses at the moment are corporation tax, exchange rates and competition

This quarter we received a record number, 555 responses, our highest rate to date. The increase in responses has helped the Chamber understand concerns among the business community and forecast the health of the local business climate.

Read our Economic Brief and Full Report here.