Business confidence in the North West edged higher by three points during July to 38 per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the North West report higher economic optimism at 40 per cent, six points higher than the previous month, while their confidence in their own prospects stood unchanged at 35 per cent.
Companies’ hiring intentions fell slightly, with a net balance of 30 per cent of businesses in the region now expecting to hire more staff during the next year, down two points on last month.
Nationally, overall confidence edged ahead to 30 per cent, up one point on June, as firms’ optimism about the economy rose two points to 25 per cent. Businesses’ confidence in their own business prospects held steady at 34 per cent.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses every month and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Glenn Bemment, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The increase in confidence proves that firms are growing more comfortable operating in an often uncertain political and economic environment.
“It is encouraging to see economic optimism rise in the North West, and as we gain more clarity regarding our economic future over the coming months, we expect to see even more businesses investing in growth.”
Businesses in the West Midlands showed the most confidence, at 49 per cent, ahead of London (47 per cent) and the North West (38 per cent).
Businesses in the East of England were the least confident, with an overall confidence of 14 per cent, followed by Wales and Scotland at 17 per cent.