Confidence still on the rise say business chiefs
CONFIDENCE within the business community in Swansea has continued to rise throughout the year, latest research from the South Wales Chamber of Commerce has revealed.
The chamber's economic survey of the third quarter has shown 79 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses from Swansea are expecting to see turnover increase or stay the same over the next 12 months.
The survey also found sales figures had remained steady with more than two-thirds of businesses experiencing constant or increased orders.
The biggest improvement has been seen in overseas trade with 80 per cent of businesses which trade internationally reporting increased or constant orders, up from 71 per cent in the second quarter.
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Chamber director Graham Morgan said: "These figures reflect what we have been hearing from the businesses in the Swansea area over the last three months.
"While not all will have seen improvements, many have, and the figures show a slow but sure improvement to sales figures each quarter.
"The greater the growth that internationally active businesses deliver, the more the opportunity there is for Swansea's small to medium enterprises to feed into the supply chains.
"The rise in overseas trade is particularly encouraging.
"We have been saying for some time now that businesses in Wales must tap into overseas markets if they want to prosper and grow.
"The fact that we have seen such a positive increase in overseas trade reinforces this position and should help to allay any fears that businesses may have about trading internationally.
"We have a unique, yet short-lived, opportunity at the moment to capitalise on the international profile of Brand GB, and I would urge businesses to strike while the iron is hot and make the most of this opportunity while they still can."
The chamber's quarterly survey shows a rise in businesses taking on new workers but almost half of businesses hiring have reported difficulty finding the right staff.
Mr Morgan added: "The difficulty for businesses in recruiting a local workforce with the right skills is a problem and stems from skill requirements being misunderstood at school when youngsters are starting to look at their future careers, and selecting their GCSE and A-level options.
"A closer working relationship between business and industry, higher education and schools would go a significant way to solving this problem, and produce a home-grown workforce, equipped with the skills to ensure that jobs created locally can be taken by local people."
Seamus Gates, director of Swansea accountants Broomfield and Alexander, said: "The results of the latest economic survey by the SWCC are a good reflection of the experiences of our clients.
"The absence of significant economic turmoil over the last three months has at least given businesses the confidence needed to start to make long term plans for the months ahead."