Business confidence has hit a 22-year high, according to the Business in Britain Report, a survey of 1,500 UK businesses carried out by Lloyds Bank which shows strong momentum in the second half of 2013 continuing into the first half of 2014.
The report tracks the overall balance of opinion and has found that strong economic activity combined with continued positivity regarding market performance over the last six months has contributed to an optimistic outlook for the second half of 2014.
Increased Sales & Orders
The last six months saw the net balance of overall sales reach the mid-2007 all-time high as it crept up eight points to 41%. The number of firms expecting an increase in orders rose to 61%, compared to only 5% which were predicting a drop. The increase looks set to continue as firms predict a seven point rise in total sales and orders over the next six months to reach 58% and 56% respectively. This is the highest figure reached since the survey began in 1992.
With rising confidence levels both nation and sector-wide, companies are envisioning increasing their capital expenditure, especially in the construction sector, which has experienced an increase in activity and profits over the last six months, leading to it receiving the highest confidence reading across all sectors.
The report suggests significant plans for companies to boost staff numbers, in order to deal with the anticipated growth in demand and profits. However, 36% of businesses reported difficulty in hiring skilled workers.
Hopes of a balanced and more sustainable economic growth will continue to rise as expectations of greater profits, orders and sales continue to grow over the next six months.