Agents' summary of business conditions - February 2015

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 18 February 2015

This publication is a summary of monthly reports compiled by the Bank of England’s Agents following discussions with contacts in the period between late December 2014 and late January 2015.

  • Consumer demand had continued to grow at a moderate pace.
  • Housing market activity had remained subdued relative to levels in 2014 H1.
  • Investment intentions for the next twelve months were consistent with modest growth overall.
  • Business services turnover growth had remained robust.
  • Manufacturing output growth for the domestic market had eased further.
  • Construction output growth had eased slightly, but had been robust overall.
  • Corporate credit availability had improved slightly over recent months.
  • Employment intentions had eased slightly for manufacturing and business services firms, but were consistent with modest headcount growth overall.
  • Recruitment difficulties had changed little, at a level somewhat above normal.
  • Capacity utilisation was at broadly normal levels in manufacturing, but slightly above normal for services.
  • Growth in total labour costs per employee had been steady, although contacts reported increasing wage pressures in some subsectors with skills shortages.
  • Materials costs and imported finished goods prices had remained lower than a year earlier.
  • Output prices were broadly flat for manufacturers on a year earlier, although they had risen moderately for business services. Profitability growth had edged higher.
  • Consumer price inflation had fallen further for goods. Moderate rates of inflation in services prices had continued.

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