Suffolk: Firms show ‘clear pattern of growth’

SUFFOLK’S firms are seeing a sustained revival in their fortunes, a survey has found.

The latest economic figures for Suffolk show growth and increasing confidence among the county’s firms

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce second quarterly economic survey of 2012 looks at company performance in the second three months of this year. It was conducted in late May/early June and the results were analysed by a Suffolk County Council team.

“Following a difficult 12 months in 2011 we are now beginning to see that a more settled improvement took place in the first half of 2012.” said Suffolk Chamber president Dr Peter Funnell. “This is good news as there is a clear pattern of growth and greater confidence emerging amongst local firms and we are beginning to see encouraging signs that the economy is on the mend.”

Manufacturers reported increased employment levels while investment in training has continued to grow.

But they are concerned about their long term prospects, with confidence in turnover and profitability both taking a dip after an upbeat six months.

However, there were slight improvements in using capacity and in cash flow.

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“Whilst the UK economy seems to be finding it difficult to make marked improvement over a sustained period, here in Suffolk there has been a real positive response from the county’s companies,” said Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore.

“The government must underpin these efforts by improving both their access to finance and investment in key infrastructure priorities such as road, rail and broadband”..”

Exporters are showing some of their best figures since 2001 with local firms outstripping their national counterparts, the survey found.

The second half of 2011 was difficult for the service sector but the robust performance of the first months of 2012 has been maintained throughout the spring. Once again there has been very strong performance, in terms of sales and orders in both the domestic and export markets.

“Overall we can be encouraged by these latest figures,” said Mr Dugmore. “They once again show that the hard work of local companies is making a real difference to the medium and long term prospects of the local economy.

“Our members tell us that they are feeling more and more confident but they need government to work with them to ensure this growth can continue. That is why we will continue at the Chamber to push for improvements and investment in infrastructure at the earliest opportunity.”