The latest Quarterly Economic Survey from West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce has revealed the devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the region’s economy.
The results show 12 key indicators of economic health, including sales, orders and cash flow, falling to their lowest levels on record.
The findings come as the Chamber of Commerce calls for a bolder roadmap to recovery that helps businesses across the regions to restart, rebuild and renew.
■ UK and export sales fall to the lowest level on record with the service sector being the hardest hit.
■ Businesses have also indicated a decrease in investment over the last three months as they focusing on preserving cash buffers.
■ Employment expectations in West Cheshire and North Wales also fell sharply to their lowest level on record.
■ Hopes of a swift economic recovery could be dashed, as forward-looking indicators – orders and investment intentions – dropped to record lows for both services firms and manufacturers. Business confidence in turnover and profitability over the next three months has also fallen to the lowest level on record.
Debbie Bryce, chief executive officer at the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our latest survey indicates an extraordinary contraction in the region’s economic activity in the second quarter as the coronavirus closed large parts of the economy, with the vast majority of indicators dropping to historic lows.
“Support is available to business communities in both West Cheshire, via UK Government and the Business Recovery Support Programme offered by Cheshire West and Chester Council, and North Wales, via Welsh Government, but they also want to see a clearer, bolder roadmap to recovery that helps them restart, rebuild and renew.
“The UK cannot meander its way back to success in this era of uncertainty. The only way to re-kindle business and consumer confidence is to demonstrate an absolute and unshakeable focus on boosting the economy over the coming months.”
The survey took place between May 18 and June 11 receiving 76 responses from businesses employing over 7,000 employees.