Lincolnshire businesses are investing more into equipment and staff training, the latest economic survey for the county has found.
The Lincolnshire Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) notes a “steady but positive” picture for local businesses, with more companies stating they intend to expand their workforce within the next three months, and invest in more equipment and training.
The survey provides firms and authorities with a snapshot of the local economy, recording its strengths and weaknesses by inviting firms to discuss trade each quarter.
According to the figures, the manufacturing sector is particularly strong, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they intend to invest more in plant and machinery, and 34 per cent will be investing in training.
In the next three months, 23 per cent of manufacturing and service sector businesses who did the survey said they expect their workforce to increase.
Only four per cent think it will decrease, which is an improvement of 19 per cent from last quarter.
Simon Beardsley, chief executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The last QES results in January 2014 showed a very high level of business optimism for the coming year, which is now being reflected in investment plans this quarter. Businesses are investing now in anticipation of forthcoming growth, signs of which we have been observing over the past 12 months.
“Plus, more businesses reported that they believe the company’s profitability will increase over the next 12 months, implying that they are still very optimistic for the coming year.”
James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants added: “There appears to be renewed business confidence, which is starting to manifest itself in businesses looking to make significant investment in capital projects to meet the challenges of renewed and hopefully sustainable growth.”
Additionally, 29 per cent of manufacturing companies said their workforce had increased in the last three months, and the number of service sector businesses that said their workforce had expanded also rose.
However, the main concern for businesses still is the skills gap, particularly in order to meet future needs. Sixty per cent of businesses that tried to recruit last quarter struggled to hire skilled manual and technical staff, and 40 per cent had difficulty recruiting managers.
The Quarterly Economic Survey is undertaken by Lincolnshire County Council on behalf of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and in partnership with the University of Lincoln.