Business confidence in Yorkshire rose by eight points during February to 4%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Although companies in Yorkshire reported marginally lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, down two points at -8%, their economic optimism, up 19 points to 16%, resulted in a headline confidence reading of 4%.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
When it comes to jobs, a net balance of 1% of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, up 22 points on last month.
Across the UK, overall business confidence rose in February as the government announced it would be creating a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown.
Confidence increased by nine points to 2%, the first net positive reading since March 2020. Firms’ economic optimism also jumped 12 points month-on-month to 2%.
Steve Harris, regional director for Yorkshire and Humber at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “This month’s figures point to increased hope for a brighter future among Yorkshire and the Humber’s firms.
“Confidence has moved into net positive territory for the first time in ten months, and the significant uptick in hiring intentions is the clearest sign yet that the success of the UK’s vaccine rollout and hopes of easing restrictions is starting to affect business optimism.
“Following the PM’s announcement earlier this week, businesses hopes are likely to have increased further.
“While firms will still face challenges, we’ll continue to support their growth and success as we navigate a return to normality in the coming months.”
Confidence increased across all four broad industry sectors to the highest levels since March 2020. After a soft start to the year, manufacturing jumped by fourteen points to 5%, while construction rose eight points to 7%. Confidence in retail extended nine points to 3%, while services advanced by ten points to 1%, led by broad-based improvements in the subsectors.