Optimism is on the increase among small firms in the West Midlands as the rate of job cuts slows down, according to new research.

However, two thirds of region’s business owners believe full recovery is at least a year away according to researchers from Clifton Asset Management (CAM).

Small business owners in the West Midlands are feeling better about the region’s ability to withstand the UK’s ongoing economic problems – with fewer having to make job cuts over the past six months.

But despite the UK having officially come out of recession, 66 per cent believe the downturn will effectively last another 12 months or more.

The figure is the highest of any English region in CAM’s latest quarterly survey of over 1,000 small business owners in England and Wales.

According to the latest research, 30 per cent of business owners in the West Midlands feel the region is better placed for recovery than the UK as a whole. The figure is still lower than in most other regions, but it is double what was recorded in the previous survey.

Neil Greenaway, managing director at CAM, said: “The West Midlands has suffered substantial job losses in this recession but it appears that the worst is over, and this is reflected in the increasing optimism among business owners about the region’s position in comparison to the rest of the country.”