Future bright for local businesses

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GREATER Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey shows that 2014 ended on a high.

And while figures indicate strong growth for the end of last year, the Chamber’s Economic Outlook has also been published and predicts this will continue for both the Greater Manchester and UK economy until 2018.

More than 500 businesses, including dozens from Wigan, took part and hear the outlook research.

Dr John Ashcroft, Chief Economist at the Chamber, said: “The latest data points to a strong finish in the final quarter of 2014.

“The index improved to 36.7 in the fourth quarter from 32.0 in Q3, driven by export confidence returning to the manufacturing and service sectors following the setback in the third quarter.

“The outlook for home orders and deliveries improved in both the service sector and the manufacturing sector. The export outlook also improved significantly with an increase in manufacturing orders and deliveries for international markets. Businesses seem confident about prospects for turnover and profits, and are unconcerned about the risk of interest rate rises or exchange rates movements. ”

According to the QES data, employment strength also moved to a new high in the quarter, with employment expectations improving significantly in manufacturing.

The Chamber’s economic 2105 outlook predicts growth of 2.9 per cent for the UK, slowing slightly to 2.8 per cent in 2016 and 2017.

Inflation will average 0.8 per cent for the year before rising towards the end of the year. Earnings are expected to rise, government borrowing fall and unemployment continue to fall.

Dr Ashcroft added: “In Greater Manchester, we expect strong growth in the construction and services sectors with particularly strong growth in leisure and business services.

“Further afield, we forecast world growth of 2.9 per cent in 2015 increasing to 3.1 per cent in 2016.

“UK Inflation will average just 0.8 per cent.”