SME jobs prospects better but overall confidence still low
Small businesses believe that employment prospects are improving despite a small drop in confidence, according to a survey from ISME.
The research also showed that exports from the sector are at a 10-year high while the current business environment is still considered to be “poor” or “very poor.”
Not surprisingly, the retail sector is the most pessimistic with shoppers still not opening their purses and choosing to save what free cash they have ahead of this year’s budget.
It is also the most down about employment – while prospects are growing they are still negative.
Business costs are also a major concern and in many sectors the price of energy, transport and raw materials was up 5pc in the second quarter.
While there are some green shoots in the report, however, ISME head of research Jim Curran said: “While there has been a dip in business confidence, in general the results are more positive than in recent surveys.
“The level of job losses has slowed with employment forecasts better than they have been for a number of quarters.”
But he added that general concerns persist, reflecting the fact that economic uncertainty continues to be the main concern of SME owner managers.