In the six-month period between April and September 2022, the Buckinghamshire economy encountered numerous challenges and economic headwinds linked to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, with a knock-on impact to energy prices, and further exacerbating ongoing supply chain issues.
In September 2022 (latest available data at the time of writing), the UK economy was estimated to be 0.2% below its pre-coronavirus levels (figure 1). Most indicators suggest that the County’s economic output over the last two years has followed a similar pattern to the national picture.
Buckinghamshire Business First and Buckinghamshire LEP survey Buckinghamshire businesses every quarter to gauge business conditions and confidence. Results for the most recent Q2 2022 Buckinghamshire Business Barometer showed that more than half (54%) of those responding described trading conditions between April and June as ‘worse than normal’ for the time of year (figure 2). This was up from just under a quarter (24%) of those saying the same for the previous quarter.
This reversed some of the progress achieved following the phased end of Covid restrictions throughout 2021.
Figure 2: Compared to normal for this time of year, how would you describe current trading conditions for your business?
Source: Buckinghamshire Business Barometer, Q2 2022, BBF and Bucks LEP (55 respondents)
Buckinghamshire’s claimant rate still remains above its pre-pandemic level.
Figure 3: Number and rate of people claiming out-of-work related benefits in Buckinghamshire by month.
Demand for workers remains elevated, with job postings for the majority of 2022 surpassing 2021’s already exceptionally high levels (see our interactive Job Postings dashboard). Between January and September 2022, on-line jobs postings were 27% higher in Buckinghamshire compared to the same period last year.
Attracting those who have left the labour market since the onset of the pandemic (the over 50s and students in particular) will be just as important as attracting those who are claiming out-of-work related benefits, to help fill vacancies and reduce recruitment difficulties.
To keep up to date with the latest economic intelligence for Buckinghamshire, please visit the LEP’s Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory.