Small Business Confidence Suffers Over Economic Uncertainty

Business owners are more pessimistic about employing new staff than they were in 2014 with Northern Irish businesses least likely to take on new staff

Small Business Confidence Suffers Over Economic Uncertainty

Small business confidence is suffering due to continued economic uncertainty, a report from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (DBIS) has confirmed.

The Small Business Survey 2015 of some 15,000 small and medium enterprise employers, indicated that confidence is still high among business owners but that they are becoming more pessimistic about their ability to employ new staff.

While 26% of employers expect to employ more people in 12 months’ time, the proportion expecting to increase employment levels is six percentage points lower than in 2014. 64% of small enterprises also said they expect to employ the same amount of staff as last year, with 10% expecting to employ fewer.

There was a bigger change in hiring intent among micro-businesses with 23% saying they would increase employment, compared to 31% in 2014.

Business owners in Northern Ireland were the least likely to take on new recruits (21%), followed by Scotland (23%), and England and Wales (25% each).

When comparing English regions, 34% of London businesses believe employment would grow, followed by Yorkshire/Humberside (31%) and the West Midlands (30%).

Just yesterday it was revealed that 78% of small businesses were profitable in 2015. While last month, it was announced that consumer confidence was at its lowest in 15 months in light of the upcoming EU referendum.

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