News Article

Quarterly Business Report

27 October 2021

The latest Quarterly Business Report from the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce found that firms continued to report historically high levels for a number of key economic indicators.

The report, based on a survey of 62 firms, which employ 4,000 people across the region and published in partnership with Cheshire West & Chester Council, indicates that businesses in the region are continuing to show positive signs as the UK recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, the supply chain crisis, alongside wider labour shortages and spiralling price rises, is threatening to drag on our economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Findings
Business confidence in the region, for both profitability and turnover, eased fractionally though the scores remain high compared to historic levels.
Employment conditions eased slightly in the last quarter, which could reflect falling confidence in the economic outlook due to supply constraints and price pressures.
Firms’ investment intentions for training eased following the two-year high of last quarter.
Domestic sales have continued to strengthen, rising to their highest level in three years reflecting continued strong consumer demand following the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.
Export sales and orders returned to positive levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic (meaning more people reporting an increase rather than a decrease) and are marginally above the level at the end of 2019.

The survey fieldwork took place between 23rd August and 13th September 2021.

Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, commented on the report:

“Our latest Chamber Quarterly Business Report indicates that WCNW businesses are continuing to show positive signs as the UK recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Many readings either returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with domestic sales reaching the highest level in three years.

However, the supply chain crisis, labour shortages and increasing prices, is clearly starting to drag on our economic recovery from Covid-19. Businesses are being battered by a deluge of up-front cost pressures, including huge increases in the prices of key raw materials and shipping, as well as now facing a rise in National Insurance Contributions. At the same time, they are losing out on opportunities for growth due to labour shortages, despite many businesses already raising wages and offering training.

The focus must now be on creating the best possible environment for businesses to grow and thrive. By supporting firms through the difficult months ahead they can begin to generate wealth, create jobs and support communities.”

Gemma Davies, Director of Economy and Housing at Cheshire West & Chester Council, said “The Council welcomes the quarterly survey and is one of a number of reports on business need that the Council uses to identify issues and opportunities and inform future packages of support as a part of our Inclusive Growth Strategy across the Borough.”

The Chamber Quarterly Business Report for quarter three of 2021 is based on a survey that received 62 responses from businesses in West Cheshire & North Wales representing 4,000 employees.

To view the full report, and to express your interest in taking part next quarter, please visit https://wcnwchamber.org.uk/voice-of-business/quarterly-business-report