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Robust confidence levels ‘encouraging’, says Chamber survey

The business barometer indicates increases in export activity during the first quarter of 2017. At home, 76% of services sector businesses reported that their UK sales had increased over the past three months or remained in line with the fourth quarter of 2016.

 In total 41% of manufacturers said their UK sales had either increased or remained consistent with the previous quarter.

The services sector reported a 15% rise in export sales – this is its highest figure since Q1 2015 and also represents its second consecutive quarter of increases in export sales. In addition the sector recorded a 19% increase in export orders to 23% in Q1.

 As a result of this activity 19% of services sector firms reported that their headcount had increased during the first three months of 2017 compared with the previous quarter.

Looking ahead 26% of service sector businesses and 14% of manufacturers expect to increase the size of their workforces during the next quarter.

The majority of firms in both sectors reported that their investment plans for plant/machinery had remained in line with the previous quarter.

Competition was the biggest cause for concern among Milton Keynes businesses , although 71% of manufacturers and 68% of service sector businesses revealed that their turnover had increased during the period.

Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “It is very encouraging that business confidence across Milton Keynes has remained robust during the first quarter of the year.

“It is reassuring to see that the services sector is experiencing a rise in its export activities and that both sectors predict their workforces will grow during the next quarter.”

A total of 38 businesses, employing 2,068 people from across Milton Keynes, took part in the review of the first quarter of the year.  

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