Christian Spence, GM Chamber of Commerce at Northern Transport Summit
The skills shortage is throttling the construction sector, says Christian Spence

GM economy resilient in Q2

Greater Manchester Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey shows growth remained steady in the second quarter of this year.

Manufacturing in Greater Manchester appears to have benefited from the fall in the value of Sterling, though price volatility remains a concern.

The QES shows construction demand remains strong, but supply side constraints, particularly the access to skilled labour, are throttling the sector and may yet increase further. Service sector growth is broadly steady, but consumer demand appears to be slowing.

The UK economy overall is showing signs of slowing down, with rising inflation and softening consumer demand, but the weakness of Sterling is supporting exports, though this is unlikely to last beyond the medium term and will have little to no impact on the UK’s net trade deficit. Growth in 2017 looks softer after a weak Quarter 1 and this may continue through into 2018.

Based on the QES results, the Chamber is predicting that UK growth will be 1.6% this year and 1.5% in 2018, while growth in Greater Manchester will be 3.25%.

Christian Spence, head of research and policy at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Inflation and its effect on businesses and consumers will remain the main story of 2017. The triggering of Article 50, the General Election results and uncertainty in the political environment have not inspired confidence and may continue to lead to calls for a softer Brexit.

“Despite these concerns, the opportunities for Greater Manchester remain strong – it has a strong brand and growth potential.

“The focus now must be on delivering a smooth Brexit and maintaining momentum on domestic policy.”

The Quarterly Economic Survey is the UK’s largest and most reliable business confidence survey and is used by key policy-makers to determine economic decision-making.

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