NEARLY a third of all businesses across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) are seeking to recruit, according to a new survey.
This is further good news for a region battling against high unemployment and follows new figures from the Office for National Statistics, which showed that the number of people employed in the area had increased.
The domestic market for manufacturers remained static with 41 per cent, the same as the previous quarter, reporting an increase in sales but the number with fuller order books dropped to 38 per cent from 41 per cent.
Although confidence that they would increase turnover and profitability among manufacturers had dipped slightly, most had revised upwards plans for investment.
Twenty seven per cent (against 17 per cent in the previous quarter) said they had increased their investment in plant, machinery and equipment while 28 per cent, compared with 11 per cent, had spent more on training.
Exchange rates and competition remained the biggest areas of concern for manufacturers.
There was a similar picture among service sector companies, although domestic business had increased while exports were down. But again there was good news on the jobs front with 31 per cent (up from 30 per cent in the previous quarter) saying they were attempting to recruit.
An upward trend in confidence was also reflected in investment plans with a huge rise in all areas. A quarter (25 per cent) said they had upped their investment in equipment compared with eight per cent in the previous quarter and those who had invested in training rose to 27 per cent from six per cent.
Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Stronger investment in machinery, plant and training are all good indications that our companies remain optimistic about future growth. And it is especially pleasing to see that more businesses are looking to take on additional staff.”