Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

North East registers strong manufacturing performance

The North East has shown a strong performance in exports and manufacturing over the past year, but economic uncertainty continues to impact on regional business.

In their quarterly North East Business Barometer, the North East Chamber of Commerce found that weakening sales and a poor service sector performance are preventing much needed growth to offset public sector cuts.

The Business Barometer, complied in partnership with Barclays Corporate, measured the health and direction of the North East economy across 11 separate indicators, with a score above zero signalling that trading conditions are improving.

Workforce recruitment has shown improvement, while manufacturing and export have provided much of the positivity.

NECC Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “With a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the global economy at the turn of the year, it is no surprise to see this reflected in most businesses in the final quarter of 2011.

“The continued excellent performance of region’s manufacturers and exporters perhaps demonstrates why the North East growing more strongly than much of the rest of the country, according to regional GVA estimates published in December.”

Mr Ramsbotham was keen to stress the importance of a healthy manufacturing sector, but also noted the dangers of allowing it to carry the North East recovery.

“The North East needs to see UK sales and workforce growth in the service sector if we are to maintain a robust business base.”

“The North East needs to see UK sales and workforce growth in the service sector if we are to maintain a robust business base.” He added.

Brian Thorpe, Head of North East, Barclays Corporate, said: “Confidence is key. Large numbers of businesses are not investing and while we try to encourage them to do so, many businesses are preferring to sit on cash which is understandable.

“Similarly, until individuals become more confident in employment prospects, they won’t spend.

“Restoring this confidence must be our goal for 2012 in order to protect and strengthen what remains a fragile recovery.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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