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Services firms face hiring woe amid poor growth

BELOW-average UK growth continued into the third quarter, a survey from British Chambers of Commerce signals, with recruitment difficulties faced by the services sector at an all-time high.

British Chambers director general Adam Marshall warned: “These figures reinforce what we are hearing from businesses up and down the country – the uncertainty over Brexit and the lack of bold moves to boost business at home are starting to bite.”

The UK grew by only 0.1% and 0.4% respectively in the first and second quarters.

British Chambers said “all signs suggest that this year’s annual economic growth is set to be the lowest since the financial crisis”. Its survey of 5,600 businesses showed the percentage of UK services companies attempting to recruit was at its lowest for 25 years, And, of the firms in the sector that did try to recruit, the percentage experiencing difficulties rose to its highest since the survey began in 1989

Suren Thiru, BCC head of economics, said: “These results suggest that the current period of below-average GDP growth continued into the third quarter of 2018. Activity in the services sector slackened in Q3 with the key indicators of domestic and international activity softening. That said, services is still likely to have been the main driver of…growth.”

He added: “The manufacturing sector remains a weak spot, with export activity slowing sharply in the quarter. Brexit uncertainty and the increasing cost of imported raw materials is weighing on the UK’s external position – further evidence that the persistent weakness in sterling is doing more harm than good. Net trade is likely to have contributed precious little to UK GDP growth in Q3.”

Source : HeraldScotland

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