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August 19th, 2008
Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is hopeful that Merseyside may be less affected by the threat of recession than the country as a whole. The quarterly UK economic forecast released by British Chambers highlights a significant worsening in UK economic prospects and predicts an increase in unemployment across the country of 250,000 to 300,000 people although the organisation remains hopeful that a major recession can be avoided.
Jack Stopforth, Chief Executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce says: “While these latest figures are worrying they do not confirm a trend. All businesses will feel some impact from the worsening position in the wider economy, we remain cautiously optimistic that Merseyside businesses are doing better than most.
“In our survey of members for the second quarter of this year there was clear evidence that the trading environment was very tough with half of the companies who responded having to face rising raw material and overhead costs and a general slowdown in new orders and sales. Despite this, 33% of companies reported growing employment compared to only 13% reducing jobs with the majority of new posts being full time.”
“We have seen some high profile failures in recent months, and there has been a predictable downturn in construction but most sectors have performed well, including local retail, which is bucking the national trend by exhibiting growth. There is also anecdotal evidence that the hospitality sector is doing well with record numbers of visitors coming to the city and our growing base of technology and innovation based businesses are expected to be less affected by the general trend.
“We believe that there are local factors that provide at least some short term insulation against the worst of the credit crunch. But our national body, British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has warned of a “serious risk” of recession, nationally, following its business confidence survey and so this is no time for complacency in any sector”.
Liverpool Chamber’s latest economic survey has just been circulated to members and the results will be released along with the results of the national survey in early October.