A host of signs have emerged of continuing business growth throughout the North East, reinforcing predictions 2014 would see an upsurge in the region’s economy.
The latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking regional purchasing index has revealed a 49-month high in private sector activity here, while research from insolvency trade body R3 suggests a record 63% of firms in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside are showing at least one of five key indicators of growth.
R3 has tracked these signs – investment in equipment, increased sales volume, business expansion, increased profits, and growing market share – since March 2012 through its Business Distress Index (BDI).
Steve Ross, who chairs the organisation in the North East and is a partner in the restructuring team at the Sunderland office of Baker Tilly Business Services Limited, said: “The latest results are a welcome sign that the recovery is bedding in and gaining ground, and after such a prolonged period of stuttering growth – if any at all – it’s very nice to be able to talk about good news for a change.
“The willingness of businesses to begin investing in their long-term future again suggests a level of business confidence that has previously been missing.
“If this change in attitude can unlock business investment, then that bodes well for the future.”
Backing up the findings, one of the country’s leading business figures has also spoken of an expanding economy in the region.
Ian Powell, chariman of top-four accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said the company’s offices in the North have experienced double-digit growth over the last year, with a notable upswing in both deals and jobs.
He also singled out Newcastle among a group of cities experiencing rapid growth generally.
“UK regions outside of London are growing, with the North performing particularly strongly, and from our experience, the retail and manufacturing sectors being the most active,” he said.
In the North East, speciality engineering was also enjoying a resurgence, Powell added.
The company had also likewise investment in capital and skills training, a focus on exports and increased business confidence.