However you source your daily news intake, be it TV, radio or increasingly social media, one topic continues to dominate the domestic headlines – Brexit. Furthermore, many of the stories that come out around the subject are overwhelmingly negative regardless of which side of the fence you sit…whether it be Mark Carney warning of a crash in house prices in the case of a “no deal” Brexit, criticism of the Chequers deal put forward by the PM or general uncertainty around what a post-Brexit UK economy looks like.
At a macro level there are certainly challenges within the UK economy. Despite better than expected growth in the quarter to July of 0.4% and record lows for unemployment of 4.2%, wage growth continues to be sluggish and we have seen significant casualties on the high street within the retail sector.
The “UK Plc” picture doesn’t necessarily have to cast a cloud over what is going on in the local economy. Demand for Permanent employees – particularly in specialist sectors such as IT and Engineering – remains high and Hewett Recruitment have seen this translated in to a record quarter (July to September) for Permanent Recruitment. Temporary demand remains strong too, with many businesses needing to add extra heads in order to meet customer requirements.
A great example of this local success can be found in Kidderminster where Vision Labs, part of the Specsavers Group supply chain, are forging ahead with significant developments. This includes substantial capital investment in new machinery as well as a commitment to take on an additional 50 Permanent employees over the next 6 months. Vision Labs were recently named “Manufacturer of the Year” and overall “Business of the Year” at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards and as such move on to the regional awards due to take place soon.
Vision Labs are just one example of a host of businesses across the two counties performing well and investing in the future despite the uncertainty surrounding the “B word”. Whilst it is difficult to protect any business against the type of global shock that was experienced back in 2008, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have a thriving business community, with local SMEs through to multi-nationals who operate on a global scale, leading the way in local productivity and success.