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Slowdown in construction sector knocks business confidence

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Business confidence in the East of England fell in February as firms’ faith in their own prospects declined – particularly in the construction sector – in line with national trends. But optimism in the overall economy has picked up in the region, according to a business barometer report from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The survey showed that firms confidence in their own prospects slumped to 27 per cent, compared with 40 per cent in January although economic optimism rebounded to 25 per cent, up five points on last month. Recruitment plans have become less ambitious with a net balance of 21 per cent of firms in the region expecting to hire more staff over the next year, down seven points on last month. Overall business confidence in the region fell to 26 per cent, compared to 33 per cent nationally. Nationally, manufacturers saw the highest level of overall confidence, overtaking construction, where confidence dropped five points to 37 per cent.

Confidence in consumer services – which includes retail – rose from 27 per cent to 31 per cent. Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Although overall confidence in the region has dipped slightly since January, with many local firms expecting a decrease in business activity over the next few months, it is positive to hear that economic optimism is up.”

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 February 2018 09:27 )