The number of South West companies looking to hire additional staff jumped during May as overall confidence climbed to among the highest in the UK, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the South West report higher confidence in their business prospects at 50 percent, and lower economic optimism at 31 percent.
Together, this gives an overall confidence of 41 percent, which is 21 points above last month’s figure of 20 per cent.
As a result, a net balance of 34 percent of businesses in the region now expect to take on more staff during the next year, up 21 points on last month.
Nationally, overall confidence climbed three points to 35 percent, as firms’ confidence in their own business outlook rose even though their optimism about the economy slipped.
The South West was the third most confident region in the UK, behind the West Midlands (58 percent) and London (52 percent).
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
David Beaumont, regional director for the South West of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s encouraging to see business confidence rise so sharply in the South West during May.
“The region is at the heart of the UK’s booming staycation industry, and the good weather we have enjoyed particularly at the start of this month would appear to be encouraging more people to consider holidaying here this summer.
“The hope is that the jobs firms are planning to create aren’t just seasonal hires, however, and that the rise in confidence will actually lead to more sustained growth across all sectors over the coming months.”
Across the region, a net balance of three percent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up two points on a month ago.