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The Office for National Statistics conducts a fortnightly Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS). The voluntary responses received from the latest survey revealed the following insights.


Worker shortages decreasing


21% of businesses with 10 or more employees said that they are experiencing worker shortages. This has reduced since May 2023 where 28% of businesses were reporting shortages at that time.


More sales are happening


21% of businesses reported that their turnover had decreased in April 2024 when compared with March 2024. This is a similar proportion to last month.
However, 19% reported that the turnover was higher. Last month this was 16%, and so suggests that, in line with the recent exit from recession, there is more sales activity happening.


This seems to be feeding into optimism for businesses, since 18% of businesses reported expecting a drop in turnover in June 2024, compared with 22% who expected lower turnover in May 2024. 59% of businesses expect turnover to stay the same, compared with 56% last month.


National Living Wage increases hard to absorb


13% of businesses said that the price of their goods or services sold in April 2024 had increased compared with March 2024, compared to 9% reporting similarly last month. This is the largest proportion since June 2023 and many businesses have commented that they have been unable to absorb the cost of the National Living Wage increase.


To review the information in full, see:


https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/bulletins/businessinsightsandimpactontheukeconomy/23may2024

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