Renewed business confidence in Coventry & Warwickshire – despite slight performance dip at the end of 2019

louise bennett

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire are coming into 2020 with renewed confidence – despite an overall dip in the economic outlook for the region.

The results of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s final Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) of 2019 have been revealed and show that firms in both the service and manufacturing sector were more positive about the future than in the three months previous.

That was against a backdrop of slight decreases in domestic and overseas orders as well as a fall in employment prospects, leading to a slight downgrade in the overall economic picture.

However, the survey, which is partnered by Prime Accountants and analysed by Warwickshire County Council, providing a barometer for the regional economy, showed that Coventry and Warwickshire is still considerably above the national average when it comes to economic performance.

Warwickshire County Council’s analysis uses a similar score to the national Markits Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) where 50 is the balance and anything above means the majority feel positive and anything below means the reverse.

Using that format, confidence in the service sector rose from 72.2 to 74.7 and in manufacturing it was up from 61.8 to 65.4 compared to the previous quarter.

Domestic orders in manufacturing went down from 56.5 to 55.2 and overseas orders fell from 56.1 to 52.4. In the service sector, domestic orders went from 62.4 to 61.1 and overseas orders dropped from 53.9 to 50.9.

All of that data led to an overall economic outlook score of 60.8 for Coventry and Warwickshire – still way above the balance figure of 50 and the national average – but slightly down on the score of 61 which was recorded in the third quarter of 2019.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said firms were cautiously optimistic at the start of the new decade but that the new Government must prioritise economic growth and create greater certainty for business.

She said: “The latest Quarterly Economic Survey results reflect what has been a period of uncertainty for companies across Coventry and Warwickshire, making it difficult to plan for the future.

“The end of 2019 brought a new Government and, with it, a degree of certainty about the future direction of the country. This must now be backed up by policy that delivers real incentives to firms to invest and grow and remove some of those up-front costs from doing business.