Companies in Scotland report confidence in their business prospects at 29 per cent and economic optimism at 18 per cent. Together, this gives an overall confidence of 24 per cent, which is nine points above last month’s figure of 15 per cent.
Companies’ hiring intentions show a net balance of 16 per cent of businesses in the region expect to hire more staff during the next year, up 10 points on last month.
Longer term, the underlying trend in Scotland during 2018 shows businesses’ confidence growing slowly despite the fact that they are becoming less optimistic about the state of the UK economy overall.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
Fraser Sime, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “It’s encouraging to see the gradual rise in confidence across the country leading to a boost to recruitment plans throughout Scotland. Given the economic uncertainty the country’s businesses are facing, rising confidence in one month does not mean it’s plain sailing for anyone. But the fact that the underlying trend is positive suggests firms are slowly becoming more comfortable with uncertainty as the new normal. The challenge we face now is to keep these levels steady and support the rise in economic optimism to ensure businesses reach their full growth potential.”