Bucks LEP and Buckinghamshire Business First’s latest Business Barometer survey shows the first quarter of 2023 brought improved trading conditions and business performance, however concerns remain regarding high costs and staff recruitment and retention.

Business performance scores for the first quarter of 2023 are positive in terms of sales, order books, turnover and workforce growth, however high costs mean that for many, higher demand is not resulting in higher profits.

Of the challenges anticipated by businesses for the year ahead, the most common theme was staff recruitment and retention challenges, cited by approximately a third of respondents. This was followed by concerns related to customers, primarily consumer confidence and consumer’s ability to spend in light of rising costs. The third main challenge cited was high costs, be they energy, labour and/or materials.

The Business Barometer survey aims to understand how businesses have fared in the last few months in order to help build a picture of the needs and opportunities that exist in the Buckinghamshire business community. This valuable insight into the local economy is fed into conversations with Government and other stakeholders to ensure the voice of Buckinghamshire firms is being heard nationally.

Full findings from the Barometer survey for the first quarter of 2023 can be found on the Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory website.