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Chamber economic survey review and research insights shared with NE business

On 7 January, the North East England Chamber of Commerce shared the results of their latest Quarterly Economic Survey in an online briefing. The survey is both sponsored and supported by the Business School with faculty providing commentary on its findings and exploring specific current topics of interest in more detail.

Over 50 people attended the online presentation of the largest independent survey of North East businesses, which for the final quarter of 2020 showed the business environment remained difficult for firms across the region.

Results paint a clear picture of difficult trading conditions, with confidence remaining low by historic standards. Scores for key indicators all sit in negative territory, with UK sales at -22.9 points.

Chamber President, Lesley Moody (AES Digital) said: “These survey results show that even though business conditions continued to improve during the final quarter of 2020, things are still very tough for many firms across our region. Covid-19, Brexit and the economic climate have kept sales, orders and cashflow firmly in negative territory, despite some improvements over the latter half of the year.

These results are a stark reminder of how much work is needed to get our economy back on its feet. Yet the improvements we see are also testament to the resilience of our businesses, who have been doing everything they can to survive and grow in the face of exceptional circumstances. Let us all hope that 2021 provides the rewards and recognition they deserve.”

Other results in the survey indicated export orders for manufacturers were at -20 points. Investment in plant and machinery for both the service and manufacturing sectors were at a similar level of -19.3.

In the second part of the meeting, Professor Jackie Ford presented details of her research study on the management of diversity and inclusion strategy implementation in a major British retailer over the past three years.

Dr Janey Zhang then outlined the results of her research study into the impact of home working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic upon the trust relationships between managers and employees.

Commenting at event, Peter Allen (Associate Dean – Engagement and Impact) said, “The environment facing most businesses across the North East remains very difficult, but there is some optimism in the longer term. Managers also recognise that these unprecedented challenges are forcing them to think of new approaches to their business practices and learning from the latest Business School research can be part of this process.” 

More information

  • To view the full report click here
  • The next economic survey will take place from 7 February until 9 March and more information on how to take part can be found on the Chamber’s website.
  • Find out more about the North East England Chamber of Commerce here