Suffolk Chamber business survey: strong rebound, but recovery still fragile
The latest figures from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) – for the third three months of 2020 - shows that both manufacturers and service companies enjoyed a strong rebound from the previous quarter’s historic lows.
However, most of the criteria measured by the survey remain both in negative territory and well below the levels from the same quarter in 2019.
As a result, Suffolk Chamber is upping its calls for continued Government support as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to drag down business activity and sentiment.
The balance of manufacturing firms reporting an increase in domestic sales rose by 59 percentage points to -4% (ie slightly more companies reported a decline, rather than an increase) compared with Q2, with overseas sales at -7% (an increase of 32 percentage points).
The numbers of firms reporting an increase in current employment rose from -26% to +4%, with those anticipating a future increase in employment rising from -14% to +5%.
Those reporting positive cashflow stood at +8% (up by 62 percentage points), with
confidence in improving turnover at -4% (33 percentage points) and improving profits at -29% (up by 15 percentage points).
The balance of service firms reporting an increase in domestic sales fell to -8% (a rise 67 percentage points compared with Q2), with overseas sales at -21% (up by 49 percentage points).
The numbers of service firms reporting an increase in employment increased from -25% to -10%, with those anticipating a future increase in employment improving from -30% to -18%
Those reporting positive cashflow stood at -9% (up 58 percentage points), with
confidence in improving turnover at - 13% (up by 37 percentage points%) and improving profits up to -24% (up by 38 percentage points).