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Continued business growth expected in 2015

Order books for UK businesses have remained steady although confidence has faltered slightly, according to new research.

The Output Index in the latest Business Trends report by BDO has found order books across the UK remained steady at 103.2 in November, which suggests GDP growth over the next three months should be above the long-term trend of 2.25 per cent.

The sub-index for the manufacturing sector fell as weak Eurozone growth undermined export orders but this was countered by a rise in the services sector.

But despite this underlying strength, the Optimism Index, which tracks how businesses expect orders to develop over the near term, fell.

It dropped from 104.6 in October to 103.9, largely as a result of the stalling growth in the Eurozone. But BDO said this is a tempering of confidence rather than a slide back into difficult business conditions.

Finally, the Employment Index, which records companies' hiring intends over the next three months, rose from 113.4 in October to 113.9.

This is the 15th consecutive monthly rise and puts it at a record high.

Tim Entwistle, partner and head of BDO in the North West, said: "Despite the gloomy and deteriorating Eurozone economy, businesses are successfully weathering the storm and are on course to enter 2015 on the front foot, sustained by solid and continued growth.

"However, delve a little deeper and one developing trend poses cause for concern. Despite UK employment levels being on the up, income tax receipts for the year have been lower than expected. This suggests that the quality of jobs being created is low, while much is being made of job creation as evidence of economic policy success.

"With UK government borrowing continuing to be very cheap and 'red lights flashing' in the world economy, we think that the government should do more in terms of investment in infrastructure to create well paid jobs and keep the recovery surging onward."

Source: http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/north-west/129437-continued-growth-expected-2015

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