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20 Mar 2024

Bright outlook for East Midlands businesses in latest Quarterly Economic Survey

Improved cash flow, growth in UK orders and anticipated workforce expansion are among positive observations for 2024 made by East Midlands businesses in a new survey.


East Midlands Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey (Q1, 2024) revealed nearly six out of ten businesses (59%) surveyed expect turnover to increase this year, a figure that is 3% higher than in the last quarter.  Profitability looks good too for businesses, with 45% anticipating a higher amount this year, 4% above where it was in the last quarter.


East Midlands Chamber Director of Policy and Insight Chris Hobson said:

What shines through in this research is the indicators are all moving the right way.  Growth in UK orders is a loud and clear sign of good performance and it’s really encouraging to see companies talk of plans to invest in people – growing their workforce and spending on new machinery too. These are things that in darker economic times tend to stay static.  When we see this type of investment intention we can feel some assurance that there’s increased confidence among businesses, that they see a brighter horizon.

“In terms of recruitment there are green shoots too that paint an optimistic picture for the rest of the year ahead.  Of those trying to recruit there was a reduction in the number of businesses that reported difficulties from 72% to 64% in finding the right staff. That bodes well especially when we consider the cost of labour as one of the hurdles to businesses doing well.

“While these lifts show a great burst of positive energy across businesses in the East Midlands, overseas orders fell somewhat and price pressures driven by labour costs continue to hamper potential.  To really build a sense of growth certainty for businesses we need to address these barriers too.  The Manifesto for Growth 2024 that we took to Westminster this month lists key asks to reform People and Skills, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Taxation, Regulation and Planning, as well as ‘The Big Opportunity’ outlined to develop energy production, storage and provision.”


Key takeaways from East Midlands Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey Q1, 2024:


  • 59% of respondents expects turnover to improve over the next 12 months (up 3% from last quarter)
  • 45% expect a lift in profitability over the next 12 months (up 4% from last quarter)
  • Businesses trying to recruit that reported difficulties finding staff fell by 8% to 64%
  • 41% of respondents reported cash flow as having remained constant over the last three months
  • 56% of respondents expect prices to remain the same over the next three months
  • 45% of respondents reported UK orders remaining unchanged over the last three months while 29% saw an increase in UK orders
  • 66% of respondents said labour costs were the main reason to feel pressure to raise prices


View the full Economic Survey for Q1, 2024 here