UK business grew at its fastest rate for a year in the last quarter, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
This is the second positive survey in a row and is being hailed as an indication that job losses characterising the last six months may be at an end. It found that in the last three months job losses were less severe than the previous quarter. In the next quarter, more financial services companies expect to increase employment than reduce it, representing the first increase in the sector’s employment in over a year.
Ian McCafferty, chief economist at the CBI, said: “The industry is going into winter this year much more optimistically than it did in 2002. That reflects the continuing stock market recovery and the improved outlook for the global economy. The first expected increase in financial services employment for more than two years and the end of the downward slide in expected IT investment are further indications that a real turnaround is underway.”
The survey also reported that business volumes rose sharply in every financial services sector apart from insurance broking, which reported its seventh successive fall.