Each quarter Exeter Chamber invites a group of business leaders to meet with the Bank of England to talk about the trading environment and economic trends. Coupled with our regular financial survey this creates a picture of the national and local financial landscape. Here are some key nuggets which might help you in your business planning
– Main challenges for rural businesses relate to connectivity, making the increased usage of digital platforms very difficult for those working remotely and not in town/city centres.
– There will be longer term issues as we see working from home/ remotely become more of the norm. Desperate requirement for improved connectivity infrastructure.
Shift to Digital
– As a result of the pandemic business plans which would have been for implementation in 2-3 years’ time, have been brought forward and implemented in a much shorter time scale.
– Improved digital skills and advancement have been necessary for many businesses to just stay afloat and carry on trading.
– Temporary/ flexible serviced office market remains strong however general office market has weakened substantially.
– There is a definite uncertainty about demand for office space in the next 12 months as working from home, for at least part of the time, becomes normality.
– Uncertainty of new EU tariffs is a worry for those who import materials. Strain on construction and what the price of materials might be means that pricing jobs accurately is challenging: inevitably this is causing delays.
Employment figures announced today – quite worryingly low and looking to get worse in 2021. There are currently 2,963 vacancies currently being advertised within a 25 mile radius of Exeter (Indeed.com)
Universal Credit claimants in the city, is c. 4% and has remained consistent since March/April, though this is expected to increase when furlough ends
· Early estimates for November 2020 suggest that there is a slight drop over the month in the number of payroll employees in the UK. Since February 2020, the number of payroll employees has fallen by 819,000; however, the larger falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
· The UK employment rate, in the three months to October 2020, was estimated at 75.2%, 0.9 percentage points lower than a year earlier and 0.5 percentage points lower than the previous quarter.
· There were an estimated 547,000 vacancies in the UK in September to November 2020; this is 251,000 fewer than a year ago and 110,000 more than the previous quarter.