Half of Leicestershire firms 'to create jobs in 2013'
Around half of companies in Leicestershire are set to create jobs in 2013, according to a survey of business managers.
Three-quarters of respondents said sales would be higher than last year, while more than two-thirds said profits would rise.
The upbeat feedback comes as the results of national surveys over the past few days have stoked fears of the economy falling into a triple-dip recession.
A questionnaire was sent to directors of county firms last Thursday by the Leicester Mercury business team and it received 50 responses.
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One of the respondents was Christopher Tate, managing director of Donington Park Racing.
He said he was confident of slightly more profits and sales in 2013. He also said his workforce would increase by 5 per cent, while his biggest concern was the impact of a possible return to recession.
"We can see one or two positive signs, but it's the macro-economic stuff such as the Government making a further mess of it that everyone in business has got to look out for," said Mr Tate.
Ashwin Mistry, chairman of insurance firm Brett & Randall, of Enderby, said its profits, sales and workforce would be slightly up this year.
His main concern was funding and he wanted to see more helpful government policies.
"I would say I'm cautiously positive," he said. "There are two economies out there at the moment – one where the world is coming to an end and you shouldn't invest; the other where there are opportunities to be had in this uncertainty."
Robert Flowers, managing director of Ramon Hygiene Products, in Thurmaston Boulevard, Leicester, which supplies dishcloths and other cleaning products to retailers, said it had just won an order from a major discount chain worth around £300,000 a year.
He said sales would be up slightly, but profits would remain the same.
He also said his 100-strong workforce was likely to remain unchanged.
"We supply a low-cost commodity product," he said. "It's something that someone doesn't really think too much about spending money on, so we are not going to be affected by what's going on in the wider economy as much."
Companies were asked to forecast their sales and profit performance in 2013, whether their workforce would grow or contract, their biggest concern, what topped their wish list and to sum up their overall mood right now.
More than half said sales and profits would be slightly up, while just under a fifth said sales and profits were expected to be up a lot this year.
Just under half said their biggest worry was a return to recession, while the next biggest concern was competition, with a fifth of respondents saying this. Nearly half said a big contract win topped their wish list, while better efficiencies in their business was the priority for a quarter of respondents.
Around a third said they were more positive about 2013 than they were about 2012, while around a third also said they felt the next 12 months offered more opportunities than the same time last year did. More than a quarter of respondents said 2013 would be more challenging than 2012.
Kevin Dexter, business development manager of aerospace supplier Paul Fabrications, of Castle Donington, said: "We are looking for more opportunities this year.
"Aerospace is a good business to be in and has been all through the last few years."
Business leaders are concerned about a return to recession after a series of recent surveys painted a fairly gloomy picture.