Business Boost | 25 April 2017 - by KCOM

Humber firms ignore Brexit fears to bolster international trade

Nearly a third of Humber firms are reporting a rise in international orders, according to a new report.

Nearly a third of Humber firms are reporting a rise in international orders, according to a new report.

The Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce's Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) has revealed that Brexit has done little to dampen Hull firms’ desire to export their wares with 44 per cent reporting an increase in export sales during the first quarter of 2017 – up from 15 per cent in the previous quarter.

Chamber Chief Executive Dr Ian Kelly, said: “Businesses in the Humber are determined to use the benefits of offshore renewables growth and Hull City of Culture 2017 to make the Humber the “power” in the Northern Powerhouse.

“So it is pleasing to see international trade making good progress in the Humber in the first quarter of 2017, as businesses simply get on with what they do best.

“The domestic market is a little quieter, but with recruitment performing well, and turnover and profit expectations adopting a positive stance, 2017 has got off to a solid start.

“We hope the local economy’s good progress in Q1 continues in the coming months as we face up to a General Election and helps to create more jobs and prosperity in the Humber”.

Alongside encouraging export figures, there is room for optimism on the employment front with 29 per cent of firms reporting an increase in their workforce in the past three months.

This reinforces figures from Hull City Council’s Local Economic Assessment Report (LEAR) that states there are currently 114,100 working age people in employment in Hull. This is the equivalent of 67.5 per cent of the working age population and the highest level of employment in Hull on record.

The LEAR also revealed there are 5,815 active firms in Hull in 2017, an increase of 835 since 2011.

According to the Chamber’s QES the number of firms planning to increase their staffing levels over the next three months was also up, rising by 8 per cent.

Looking at the year ahead, analysts could be forgiven for taking a cautious view of the final three quarters of 2017 with a general election looming and the UK’s advance towards Brexit.

But the region’s entrepreneurs appear steadfastly upbeat with 12 per cent more firms expecting their turnover to increase and with a similar rise in the number of firms who expect to see a rise in their profits in the next 12 months.