Q3 results are in and the key issues arising from this survey are as follows:
Overall the watchword continues to be “Caution”, with most businesses having a cautious outlook on their future prospects and plans.
- Of the businesses operating primarily within the UK market, 28% have seen an increase in their sales, with 46% remaining constant within the last 3 months.
- The outlook is better for those operating in overseas markets with 35% of these seeing increasing sales.
- The respondents to the survey in Mid Wales comprise a smaller number of larger businesses and as a consequence their results vary from the trends in the other three geographic areas.
- Almost half of the businesses surveyed are seeking to recruit, with 27% having sought to increase their workforce within the last 3 months.
- Interestingly those seeking to recruit have continued to find difficulties in recruiting the quality of staff they seek, with recruitment being sought in a range of part-time, full-time and temporary roles across a range of semi-skilled, skilled and managerial roles. The outlook in recruitment is more cautious in the coming 3 months.
- Businesses continue to find the economy difficult with cash-flow remaining tight and investment plans remaining cautious in the last quarter and in the outlook for the coming quarter.
- However, when looking beyond the next quarter over the next 12 months an increasing number of businesses (43%) expect their turnover to grow and whilst they expect that profitability might lag, a greater number also hope to see growth in profits.
- Overall expectations in terms of inflation are that this will not be a significant issue going forward, albeit some pressure from material prices and competitors is present.
- There continues to be available capacity within the Welsh economy, but there is also a perception that businesses are prepared to work at below capacity until their confidence in the market increases.
Overall, caution remains the watchword in the absence of significant economic turmoil over the last 3 months, perhaps leading to an increase in confidence for the medium to longer term.
Download a copy of the results from Q3 here