UK private sector activity was unchanged in the quarter to November, according to the latest CBI Growth Indicator.
The composite measure – based on 663 respondents across the distribution, manufacturing and service sectors – showed the balance of firms reporting a rise in output at +2%, down from +10% in the three months to October.
The slowdown in private sector activity growth was driven by weaker performances in services and distribution. Meanwhile, manufacturing growth picked up slightly.
Looking ahead, private sector activity is expected to remain steady over the three months to February (+3%), with slower growth in manufacturing and falling volumes in services, partially offset by stronger growth in distribution.
The CBI Growth Indicator is consistent with slow and steady growth momentum as detailed in our June Economic Forecast. Underlying conditions remain lacklustre, with household spending under pressure from squeezed real earnings and uncertainty restraining business investment.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:
“Private sector activity seems relatively stable as we head towards the end of the year. Businesses expect little change over the quarter ahead.
“The various papers which have been published in the last seven days lay bare the potential costs of a no deal Brexit, which would hit jobs and livelihoods across the country.
“While the current deal on offer is not perfect, businesses need the assurance that they won’t face a cliff-edge break with the EU in four months’ time in order to create new jobs and invest further in the UK.”
Notes to Editors:
The CBI Growth Indicator is a composite of data on output, sales and business volumes drawn from three of the CBI’s long-running qualitative UK business surveys: the Industrial Trends Survey (ITS, covering manufacturing); the Distributive Trades Survey (DTS, covering retail, wholesale and motor trades); and the Service Sector Survey (SSS, covering business, professional and consumer services).
The Growth Indicator covers the volume of output for the ITS, volume of sales for the DTS and volume of business for the SSS for the past three months and next three months.
A ‘balance’ is the difference in percentage points between the weighted percentage of firms answering that output is “up” and the percentage answering “down” (for example, if 30% of firms say that output is up, 60% that it is unchanged, and 10% that it is down, the balance statistic is +20%).