Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - December 2014

We regularly publish a summary of reports compiled by our twelve regional Agents following discussions with at least 700 businesses across the UK every reporting period.
Published on 17 December 2014
  • Retail sales values growth had eased, although there was some optimism about seasonal trading prospects. Consumer services values growth had been steady.
  • Housing market activity had continued to slow and house price inflation had softened.
  • Investment intentions for the next twelve months had eased slightly but remained consistent with moderate growth overall.
  • Business services turnover growth had remained relatively strong and broad-based across subsectors.
  • Manufacturing output growth for the domestic market had eased, and manufacturing export growth had slowed further.
  • Construction output growth had remained robust, with activity continuing to shift towards commercial development.
  • Corporate credit conditions had improved further, with signs of an increase in lenders’ risk appetite.
  • Employment intentions had eased slightly for manufacturers, but overall remained consistent with modest headcount growth.
  • Recruitment difficulties had remained somewhat above normal.
  • Capacity utilisation had remained broadly around normal.
  • Growth in total labour costs per employee had been steady, although there was some evidence of increasing wage pressures in some subsectors with skills shortages.
  • Materials costs, other than for certain construction inputs, had continued to fall on a year earlier. Imported finished goods prices had declined.
  • Output price inflation had remained subdued in manufacturing, but had increased for business services.
  • Consumer price inflation had eased further for goods and remained subdued overall.

PDF Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - December 2014

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