Business confidence rose slightly in March

Business confidence has improved slightly for the short-term at least, the
latest Business Trends survey by BDO Stoy Hayward has found.

The survey’s short term confidence measure, based on order book strength and
turnover expectations, rose 2.3 points to 88.6 in March. It was the second
consecutive monthly increase.

But improved confidence did not translate into hopes for a turnaround. There
was little change in the survey’s optimism index, based on perceived prospects
for the next two quarters.

Businesses are expecting unemployment to rise to 7.6 per cent up from 6.5 per
cent over the next three months, which will add 350,000 to jobless queues.

Another report from Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets showed improved confidence
on business activity levels in some areas, and mainly in smaller businesses.

Related reading