Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire economy gains momentum

The economy in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire gained further momentum in the final three months of 2013 thanks to another strong business performance, according to the region’s largest regular independent business survey.

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce (DNCC) has released the findings of its latest Quarterly Economic Survey, which found that in Q4 2013 businesses again reported increased sales and orders – both in the UK and export markets.

One in five firms increased the size of their workforce during the quarter and almost a third of businesses attempted to recruit new staff. The number of businesses reporting recruiting difficulties fell by over a third, from 45 per cent to 29 per cent.

Crucially, there was another increase in firms expressing confidence in their prospects for the year ahead, with 66 per cent believing their turnover will increase and 54 per cent forecasting an increase in profits.

The Chamber uses the results of the survey to produce a State of the Economy index, which tracks a number of key business performance indicators each quarter.

The second quarter of 2013 saw the index increase by 141 points to 215 and this growth continued in Q3 with the index increasing by a further 139 points to 354. This growth was consolidated in Q4, as the index increased by a further 14 points to 368 – its highest level since the Chamber began measuring performance in September 2007.

DNCC Chief Executive George Cowcher said: “The results from quarter four show that the local economy in 2013 ended on a high and it’s great to be starting the new year on the back of another set of positive survey results.

“This renewed sense of optimism reflects a steep increase in business activity throughout the year and the continuing orders and enquires for the start of 2014.

“This success was hard-won by businesses, who demonstrated again their resilience and commitment to growth. 2014 will hold challenges for businesses to ensure the growth experienced in the past year can be sustained and built upon.

“Businesses need Government policy to start delivering real changes on the ground. Initiatives such as the Business Bank are designed to address access to finance issues, ranked as the fourth biggest policy priority for our membership in QES Q4.

“However, we need full delivery to be brought forward so members can experience the benefits and we can properly assess how effective it is.

“While 2013 has seen some good news, it is clear this year will hold a number of challenges for the UK economy.

“2014 will be a big and busy year for business and firms must be supported as they drive the recovery and create the jobs, growth and opportunities that our economy needs and pass on to workers some of the benefits of recovery to relieve the cost of living crisis that is currently making headlines.”