Rising employment, sales and profits have been reported by the region’s business leaders in the latest Entrepreneurs’ Forum survey.
North East entrepreneurs are reporting increased employment, sales and profits from the third quarter of 2014, according to the results of the latest survey of forum members.
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum Business Tracker Survey, covering the third quarter of 2014, saw positivity throughout key indicators.
However, confidence in the economy was seen to be at its lowest level since quarter one of 2013, with only 37% of members who responded saying they were more confident than three months previously.
Compared with the figures for the same quarter in 2013, a positive picture of all aspects of business was painted, including sales, profits, employment, wages, prices and spending.
Finding and recruiting quality staff remained the number one barrier to growth identified by respondents, followed by sales and red tape.
Meanwhile, confidence in their own business was also down among some members, with those stating they were less confident in their own enterprise rising from 3% in quarter two to 8% in quarter three.
Forum chairman Nigel Mills said: “The outlook amongst entrepreneurs in the North East is still high, as you would expect from a group of individuals whose positivity and enthusiasm is a driving force for the economy.
“In a quarter which included such anomalies as the Scottish independence referendum, and with a General Election on the horizon, it is to be expected that there is a slight ebb in confidence among others, but it is important to note that 87% of respondents said they were as confident in the economy or more so than previously, reflected by 92% when asked about their own businesses.
“The main challenges remain the same, in that recruitment is far and away the greatest barrier faced by our members. These are strong businesses, which are looking to grow, but that growth must be based upon bringing in people of quality, as well as quantity.”
Looking forward to the fourth quarter, optimism remains high, with 70% of respondents expecting overall sales to rise, and 85% believing actual profits will increase or be maintained.