Indicators looking up

Business Trends: BDO

  • The Optimism Index, which predicts business performance in two quarters time, increased for the eighth consecutive month – from 98.0 in August to 100.7 in September, its highest level since April 2010. The figure has risen beyond the 100.0 mark, the level at which the economy is expected to achieve its long-run average trend growth rate over the coming six months, suggesting that economic growth will pick up speed in the next two quarters.
  • The Output Index, which predicts short-run turnover expectations, also continued its upward trend this month, reaching a 30-month high of 99.5 in September, up from 98.3 in August.
  • The Inflation Index, which predicts short-run business cost inflationary pressures, recorded a fifth consecutive decline to 100.6 in September from 101.0 in August.

Business Activity, Size, Location

UK Business: Activity  Size and Location, 2013: ONS

  • The number of VAT and /or PAYE businesses is estimated to have risen by 18,000 (0.9%) between March 2012 and March 2013.
  • Companies and public corporations represent 64% of total businesses.
  • The largest industry group is professional, scientific and technical with 16.9% of all registered businesses.
  • London has the largest number of VAT and/or PAYE based enterprises with 17.2% of the UK total.
  • The number of businesses rose over the last couple of years, following a decline since 2008

Employment Survey

Business Register Employment Survey, 2012: ONS

  • The level of employees in the UK showed an increase of 0.5% between September 2011 and September 2012.
  • The number of UK full-time employees increased by 30,000, while the number of part-time employees increased by 96,000.
  • London had the largest growth in the number of employees, with an increase of 143,000. Scotland had the largest fall in the number of employees, with a decrease of 34,000.
  • The business administration and support services sector was the industrial grouping with the largest growth in the number of employees, with an increase of 71,000. Public administration had the largest fall in the number of employees, with a decrease of 36,000.
  • The level of employment (employees + working proprietors) showed an increase of 0.2%.

Size of Firms in London & the UK

Size of Firms in London, 2001 to 2012: ONS

  • The number of workplaces in London rose from 366,290 in 2001 to 414,375 in 2012 – the number of workplaces in the UK rose from 2.4 million to 2.6 million over this period
  • The number of employees rose from 3.6 million to 4.2 million in London and from 23.9 million to 26.8 million in the UK
  • The proportion of SME workplaces in London has remained steady since 2001 at 88-89% of all workplaces
  • Workplaces belonging to large firms (with 250 or more employees) comprised 11-12% of workplaces in London between 2001 and 2012. Most of these were associated with enterprises with 2,500 or more employees.
  • Most SME workplaces belong to micro enterprises (those with fewer than 10 employees): in 2012, 87% of SME workplaces in London were associated with micro enterprises.
  • Over three-quarters of London’s workplaces belong to micro enterprises, but micro enterprises provided work for only 15% of its employees in 2012. Most  employees work for large enterprises, and almost four out of ten employees in London work for a firm employing 2,500 or more employees.

Signs of recovery?

Quarterly Economic Survey: BCC

  • Most key balances strengthened in Q2 2013 compared with previous quarter but most balances remain below their pre-recession levels in 2007
  • Service export deliveries balance rose to +36%,  the highest level since the survey began in 1989
  • Employment balances rose in Q2, following their Q1 decline.
  • Business confidence has again increased
  • Manufacturing confidence that turnover will improve rose seven points
  • Profitability confidence rose