Agents' summary of business conditions - May 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 20 May 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 March 2015 and late April 2015.

  • Consumer services and retail sales turnover had risen moderately.
  • Housing market activity remained below that of a year earlier, with some contacts reporting a slowing in the run-up to the General Election.
  • Investment intentions for the next twelve months were consistent with moderate growth overall.
  • Business services turnover growth had remained robust and broadly based.
  • Manufacturing output growth, both for the domestic market and for export, had edged lower.
  • Construction output growth had continued to ease on a year earlier, but remained fairly robust overall.
  • Corporate credit availability had improved further.
  • Employment intentions had edged higher and were consistent with modest headcount growth overall.
  • Recruitment difficulties had changed little, at a level somewhat above normal.
  • Capacity utilisation had remained at broadly normal levels in manufacturing, but slightly above normal for services.
  • Growth in total labour costs per employee had been steady.
  • Materials costs and imported finished goods prices had remained lower than a year earlier.
  • Output prices had fallen on a year earlier for manufacturers, although they had risen moderately for business services firms.
  • Profitability growth had edged higher for services, but had fallen for manufacturers.
  • Consumer price inflation had remained negative for goods. Retail service prices had continued to increase modestly.

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This page was last updated 31 January 2023