New figures released by the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce has shown sharp increases in export sales and advances orders for firms in the area.
These were part of a quarterly economic survey (QES) carried out by the chamber. It also showed that exports have been on the increase for several consecutive quarters.
All of the respondents from the services sector reported level or increased export sales over the past three months (up 10 per cent) and level or increased advance orders (up seven per cent).
The QES, which saw 106 businesses who together employ 9,066 people across the county respond, also showed yet again that local companies were recruiting or trying to recruit new staff. A total of 81 per cent of manufacturing respondents said workforce had increased or remained the same during the quarter (up from 67 per cent last quarter) and 34 per cent expected their workforce to increase over the coming three months.
Chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber Paul Griffiths (pictured), said: “This quarter’s QES results show that Northants businesses are confident and hopeful of the coming quarter, and indeed, the next 12 months. They are taking on new staff, seeing increases in both domestic and international sales and orders and, generally, are confident of improved turnover and profits. However, issues such as skills shortages and business rates need addressing by whoever comes in to power following the general election later this year. The Autumn Statement in December went some way to addressing the key issues facing businesses but more needs to be done.”
Business concerns also included competition, business rates, tax, inflation, interest rates and exchange rates.