The UK recession was officially over in January but with the weather causing widespread disruption to businesses, the recovery initially looked tentative. However, despite a shaky start, analysts are now predicting that the economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter of 2010.
According to David Page, Economist at Investec, "We are penciling in a rise of 0.5%. We're seeing significant acceleration in manufacturing. The caveat is snow disrupted activity in early months of the quarter, so there is some uncertainty but we are expecting the recovery to gain ground." The Office for National Statistics will not publish its first estimate of gross domestic product for the first quarter, until April 23, but economists have based their forecasts on the most recent evidence from business surveys.
Statistics like these have dampened fears that Britain is in store for a double dip recession which is expected to increase business confidence in the second quarter.
So what does all this mean for the local job market?
James Squires, Managing Director of Austin Banks, says: “this time last year we were in the thick of Britain’s longest post-war recession. Many companies were introducing recruitment freezes and planning or making redundancies. It was a testing time for us and for the thousands of local workers affected. The contrast between events during that period and the same time this year could hardly be sharper. We have enjoyed a significant increase in the number of jobs being called in by clients and we are now returning to pre-recession levels of activity. It is a very encouraging sign that confidence in the economy is returning.”
The wider job market seems to be reflecting this pattern with The Report on Jobs, published by the REC and KPMG on 7th April, reporting that “Permanent appointments increasing at the fastest pace for over 12 years is the clearest sign yet of a revival in the UK jobs market. A rise in both temporary and contract work at the sharpest rate for nearly three years shows how they continue to provide vital flexibility for UK businesses as well as a valuable route back into work for job-seekers.”
The prospects for Yorkshire businesses look promising in general with Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit, reporting that “Growth for the region was at its highest in over two years in March and confirms that the recovery remains on track heading into the second quarter.”
It seems there is enough momentum in the economy to keep the recovery going which is good news for Doncaster employers and job seekers. Let’s hope a resilient and determined performance from local businesses will help accelerate the process in the second quarter, giving the region a welcome boost.