Growth in the UK economy has slowed further in recent months. This is according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Between January and March, the UK’s service sector, which powers the economy, stated its highest rate of companies struggling to recruit staff in 18 years – 68{06aeb1921e0b802d2bd9c766bc98fb11cc6a46c2b0593ed9c88a0e29cf417a34} of firms said they were unable to find suitable candidates.

And for manufacturing the picture is similar.

Fewer firms have grown their workforce in the three-month period. The number of businesses aiming to create new jobs in the coming quarter has also fallen.

The sector has also seen a plunge in companies who feel secure enough to raise their prices: a balance of 8{06aeb1921e0b802d2bd9c766bc98fb11cc6a46c2b0593ed9c88a0e29cf417a34} said they were hoping to do so, down from 19{06aeb1921e0b802d2bd9c766bc98fb11cc6a46c2b0593ed9c88a0e29cf417a34} at the end of last year.

However, more manufacturing firms have reported an increase in export sales and orders.

“Our latest survey results suggest that the UK economy is in a holding pattern,” said Dr Adam Marshall, the BCC’s acting director general.

“While the picture is static overall, there are clear indications that economic growth is continuing to soften.

“From sales and orders to confidence and investment intentions, many of the business indicators we track are at a low ebb.”

The results come after the release of data last week showing  poor industry figures: The Purchasing Manager’s Indexes for the construction, manufacturing and services all came in at near-three-year lows.

Analysts have suggested that a slight improvement in the services sector will not be enough to prevent a decline in GDP for the UK this quarter.

Source: Sky news