January 30, 2020 @ 16:31 by Richard Dawson
Figures from the latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer survey show that business confidence in the North East rose by nine points this January to 20 per cent.
Companies across the region reported higher confidence in their business prospects at 21 per cent and higher optimism about the local economy at 19 per cent.
When taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives an overall confidence of 20 per cent.
Hiring intentions were up six points on last month, showing a net balance of 14 per cent of businesses in the region who expect to employ more staff this year.
Across the UK, confidence rose by 13 point to 23 per cent as firms’ optimism in the economy soared 22 points to 24 per cent.
Kelly Green, regional director for the North East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s encouraging to see such a significant shift in confidence for the North East.
“There are many exciting prospects ahead for the local economy, such as employers like Amazon creating hundreds of new jobs in areas like County Durham.
“As the fog of uncertainty begins to lift, firms will be looking to revive growth plans that they might previously have put on hold.
“We anticipate lending up to £700 million to firms in the region in 2020 as we work by the side of North East businesses to fuel growth.”
The Business Barometer questions 1200 businesses monthly to identify early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.