Confidence returns to the service sector

The service sector in Warwickshire is heading into 2015 at its most confident since the recession, according to a new business poll.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is used as a barometer for the local economy and also feeds into a national survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce.

In the final survey of 2014, 74 per cent of firms in the service industry believe turnover will rise in the next 12 months – the highest since the downturn – with just nine per cent forecasting a drop.

In manufacturing, 59 per cent of companies believe turnover is going to increase across 2015, with 24 per cent predicting a decrease.

And the jump appears to be fuelled by a growing domestic order book in manufacturing – as 47 per cent of companies said their advanced UK orders were up while 70 per cent said overseas orders had remained constant.

In the service sector, there is a more even split with 27 per cent of companies reporting an increase in both domestic and overseas orders.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies in both the service and manufacturing sectors have a positive outlook going into the New Year and the service sector, particularly, is extremely buoyant as 2015 approaches.

“This is great news as we head into a General Election year and should see the economy in our region continue to grow.

“It’s vital that during the build-up to the election and then the subsequent formation of a Government that supporting business and providing the best conditions for the economy to grow is maintained.

“While there has been a resurgence in our manufacturing and engineering sector, there is still much more to be done to get to a position where we can say we have truly balanced economy. The same goes for exports.

The survey suggests that unemployment will continue to fall across Coventry and Warwickshire with 41 per cent of firms saying they will increase headcounts early in the New Year and more than 50 per cent saying they will keep staffing levels the same.