It is encouraging to discover that business confidence levels in the West Midlands are returning after what has been a very difficult period.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has concluded despite the gloom in the rest of the country, firms here in the West Midlands are proving their resilience in the face of adversity. What is all the more encouraging is that confidence is high among manufacturers and engineers, which have traditionally been the mainstay of the region's economy - if they sneeze then the rest of us catch a cold. However, there can be no room for complacency. Times remain hard for many and it will not take much to tilt the balance back towards the negative.
Indeed, a second survey out today - this from the Engineering Employers Federation - concludes that firms in the West Midlands are still worried about the future. They are concerned about maintaining their domestic orders and exports as markets continue to be squeezed. Additional threats present themselves in the form of higher raw material, energy and freight costs. So far higher inflation is not feeding into higher wage settlements but with many companies having to raise prices to contend with increasing operating costs, it can only be a matter of time before it does.
This is likely to add to the Bank of England's concerns about inflation levels at a time when consumer spending is under pressure and debt levels are increasing.
Those hoping that the Bank may act to alleviate the pressures on Thursday by dropping interest rates are likely to be disappointed as the Monetary Policy Committee will probably frustrate households by leaving the rate un-changed at five per cent for another month.
Pressure caused by the rising cost of food and fuel means the MPC is unlikely to have the necessary slack in order to announce a reduction.
Indeed, many economists are now questioning whether there will be another cut this year after the Bank warned last month that Consumer Prices Index inflation could spike as high as 3.7 per cent.
The business community is unlikely to be impressed if this is the case and the fragile hopes of an early recovery from the credit crunch could be dashed almost before they have begun. If the business community is to sustain its confidence levels then it must have the tools necessary. If rates stay the same, sadly this is unlikely to be the case.