This Update covers intelligence gathered from business contacts between late September 2015 and late October 2015. A fuller report for 2015 Q4 will be published on 16 December.
- Activity had continued to grow solidly on a year ago, but at a slower rate than earlier in the year. That slowing had been most notable in manufacturing, where investment intentions had also weakened. Growth in services had remained buoyant, supported in part by robust consumer confidence.
- Weaker overseas demand growth and the strength of sterling had continued to weigh down on exports, and had also increased competition in domestic markets from businesses abroad. That was negatively affecting confidence among some businesses, particularly within manufacturing.
- Total labour cost growth had remained modest overall. Pay pressures were reported to be building in some areas where recruitment difficulties were greatest, such as professional services and construction. However, hiring intentions had eased alongside slower demand growth and an increasing focus on raising productivity.