BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Results

Wednesday 5th January 2022


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q4 2021: Recovery weakening as inflation worries soar 


The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) – the UK’s largest independent survey of business sentiment and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth – has shown the recovery stalled in the fourth quarter, with firms facing unprecedented inflationary pressures. 

The survey of almost 5,500 firms showed that some indicators also revealed a continued stagnation in the proportion of firms reporting improved cashflow and increased investment. Inflation is the top issue for firms, while a rise in the interest rate was also a cause for concern for many. 




Tuesday 5th October 


Quarterly Economic Survey Q3 2021: Despite Fragile Recovery, Anaemic Cash Flow and Investment with Record Inflationary Pressures Places Economy Under Strain 


The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) – the UK’s largest independent survey of business sentiment and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth – has shown that while businesses continue to recover from the deepest recession on record, persistent weakness in several indicators highlight concerns over the strength of the recovery. 


The survey of over 5,700 firms showed that some indicators, such as domestic sales and orders improved in Q3. However, it also revealed stagnation in the proportion of firms reporting improved cashflow and increased investment. Worryingly, firms’ expectations of price increases and fears about inflation are hitting record levels. 




Thursday 8th July


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q1 2021: Quarterly Recruitment Outlook – 70% Face Difficulty Finding Staff as Workforce Growth Expectations Surge 


The British Chambers of Commerce today released the results of its Quarterly Recruitment Outlook survey for Q2 2021, with responses drawn from over 5,700 firms. The new figures show a surge in the proportion of firms expecting to grow their workforce in the next 3 months, as well as a notable rise from the previous quarter in the proportion who attempted to recruit. However, the data also shows the proportion of those who had difficulty in finding staff climb significantly. 




Wednesday 28th April


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q1 2021: New Figures Show Workforce Growth Expected but Some Sectors Yet to See Signs of Revival


The British Chambers of Commerce today released its Quarterly Recruitment Outlook for Q1 2021. The new figures show continued weakness in the job market in Q1, with 60% of the nearly 6000 businesses surveyed saying they had not attempted to recruit during the quarter. However, the percentage of firms expecting their workforce to grow in the next three months rose from 19% in Q4 2020 to 27% in Q1, the highest percentage since Q1 2020 and a return to pre-pandemic levels more broadly. The proportion of firms expecting a decrease in their workforce dropped from 14% to 9%. 





Tuesday 26th January 2021


BCC/Totaljobs: Increase in businesses attempting to recruit in Q4 despite November lockdown, while some sectors left behind 


Results from the British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO), in partnership with Totaljobs, found that while there was a modest improvement in the overall number of businesses attempting to recruit in Q4, sectoral disparities remain. 

Fieldwork for the survey was carried out between 2 and 26 November 2020, during the second lockdown. It found that:   





Thursday 1st October 2020

BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q3 2020: Nearly Half Of Firms Report UK Sales Decrease As Businesses Endure Sustained Cash Crunch    


The British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) found that business conditions remained weak in the third quarter of 2020, despite much of the economy reopening. 


The bellwether survey of 6,410 firms, employing over 580,000 people across the UK, revealed that, while key indicators have improved from historic lows in Q2, they remain significantly lower than before the pandemic struck. Business to consumer firms, including hospitality, fared worst. 





Wednesday 1st July 2020


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q2 2020: Chancellor must set our roadmap to recovery as UK economy endures historic setback


  • Eleven of the 14 key service sector QES indicators fall to their lowest level in the survey’s 31-year history 
  • The percentage balance of firms reporting increased domestic and export sales is now substantially lower than the worst quarter of the 2008-09 recession  
  • Indicators for longer-term business performance drop to record lows as BCC sets out measures needed to begin UK’s economic recovery 




BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q1 2020: UK economic conditions were relatively subdued before the unprecedented economic storm caused by the Covid-19


The BCC Q1 2020 QES is made up of responses from 6,275 businesses across the UK. Firms were questioned between 17 February and 13 March 2020. In the manufacturing sector, 1,579 firms responded, employing approximately 338,600 people. 74% (1,174) of manufacturing respondents were exporters. In the services sector, 4,696 businesses responded, employing approximately 937,600 people. Of the services sector participants, 47% (2,185) were exporters.





Thursday 3rd January 2020


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q4 2019: UK economy stagnating as service sector slows


  • Service sector indicators worsen and remain well below their historic average
  • Indicators for manufacturing and export orders are negative for two consecutive quarters for the first time in around a decade 
  • Manufacturers planning to invest in plant and machinery at eight-year low   




Friday 4th October 2019


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q3 2019: Economic conditions weaken as manufacturing slump continues


The British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey – now in its thirtieth year as the largest UK private sector survey of business sentiment and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth– found that UK economic conditions weakened in the third quarter amid a significant deterioration in manufacturing sector activity.


  • The balance of manufacturers reporting increased export orders lowest in a decade and domestic sales lowest since 2011.
  • The balance of manufacturers reporting improved cashflow drops to eight-year low.





Monday 1st July 2019


BCC Quarterly Economic Survey Q2 2019: UK growth stalling amid manufacturing slowdown.


The British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey – the largest private sector survey of business sentiment and a leading indicator of UK GDP growth, closely watched by policymakers including the Bank of England – finds that underlying economic conditions remained stagnant in the second quarter of 2019.


  • The balance of manufacturing firms reporting improved domestic orders at 7-year low
  • Modest pick-up in service sector activity in Q2 insufficient to offset significant drops in Q1
  • Price pressures for services firms and manufacturers fall to their lowest level since 2016