Results from Business West’s local business survey completed by 110 businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire during August and September, found that:
· Almost all major indicators were down on the quarter and below levels seen this time last year.
· Domestic (38%) and international (34%) sales fell by 15 points and 10 points respectively.
· Recruitment dropped two points to 23%, but expectations to take on staff in the next three months increased two points to 27%
· Cashflow decreased three points to 32%.
· Business confidence dropped four points but remains high at 66%.
Commenting on the survey results for quarter 3, Ian Larrard, Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Initiative, part of Business West, said: “This quarter’s results make for tough reading, with a decrease in all most major indicators both on the quarter and the year. Last quarter we saw signs of a bounce back after a slow start to the year, but the last three months have seen a shift back. Drops in domestic and international sales, recruitment, cashflow and confidence raise alarm bells in the midst of growing global uncertainty.
“Look further afield from Swindon and Wiltshire and it’s been a turbulent couple of months for the global economy. Chinese ‘Black Monday’ in August saw hundreds of billions wiped off worldwide financial markets, including £74 billion off the FTSE. We know from past experience that our region is susceptible to global market trends given our high dependence on private sector employment and closer proximity to London, so this quarter’s survey results should come as no surprise.
“Although the strength of the global economy is being questioned, which is a major concern, it isn’t all bad news. This month’s data shows unemployment in our region is the lowest in the UK, and when you factor in that business confidence is still at high 66% the picture is less alarming. The message coming out of the figures is that although decreases across the board are a cause for concern, there are still reasons to be optimistic going forward.”
Pictured above: Ian Larrard, Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Initiative, part of Business West