Businesses positive on economic predictions, according to BCC

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have reported that businesses are more positive about economic prospects than at the end of 2011.

According to the British Chambers of Commerce, businesses are more positive about economic prospects than they were at the end of last year, with levels of some activity measures at their best in nearly a year. Around 8,000 members of The BCC were surveyed and it was found that overall growth patterns remain slower than before the recession, with manufacturers reporting more robust prospects than the services sector.

The BCC now forecasts first-quarter growth of 0.3 per cent, in line with the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. However, for 2012 as a whole it predicts 0.6 per cent, below the OBR’s 0.8 per cent forecast, mainly due to worries about increasing prices for oil and food. The BCC chief economist, David Kern, said “…growth is likely to remain low for some time, and a return to a more normal pace is unlikely before 2013.”

The survey established that orders for employers in both the manufacturing and services sectors were progressing. 12 per cent more manufacturers said that domestic orders were increasing rather than dropping; the best reading since the second quarter of 2011.

In manufacturing, there was optimistic news in employment, with the balance of those reporting that they had increased staffing rising to 16 per cent in the first quarter, up from 6 per cent at the end of last year being the single largest quarterly jump since the end of 2010.

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