Manufacturers have a more optimistic outlook for the next 12 months than their counterparts in the service sector, according to new research carried out in the West Midlands.
That was one of the major findings of a key business survey carried out with around 180 businesses in the region by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) is fed into a national poll of businesses and is seen as a barometer of confidence within the economy.
The survey found that 64 per cent of companies in manufacturing in Coventry and Warwickshire believed turnover would rise in the next year. In the service sector, that was 42 per cent.
The QES also backed up claims that unemployment was not set to get significantly worse. In manufacturing, 35 per cent of companies said staffing levels would rise with 57 per cent saying they would remain constant.
In the service sector, 22 per cent said they would taking on new staff with 74 per cent saying levels would remain the same.
Alan Durham, director of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the latest QES made interesting reading.
He said: “Manufacturers have had a really tough time in recent years and have been hit hard but the survey suggests that they are seeing more positive signs for the future.
“The new Government has talked about rebalancing the economy and getting UK manufacturing going again. That has possibly played a part in this cautious optimism but businesses tend to judge their responses on their own experience in business, the new orders they see coming in and the potential for new work.
“In the service sector, the expectation of an increase in turnover has dipped slightly since our last survey. There will be a number of reasons behind that but those firms which deal with the public sector could be anticipating a drop in levels of work from that point of view.”
Investment in training and equipment is set to remain flat in both manufacturing and services, although 24 per cent of manufacturers said they would be investing more in plant, machinery and equipments compared with 18 per cent in the service sector.
“Generally,” said Durham, “the picture is a little more optimistic right across the board – especially when you go back 12 months.
“But, that said, there are still firms facing very real difficulties and we urge them to use us here at the Chamber for support.”