Service sector business adds to employment as cheer returns

 
Ben Southwood
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FIRMS are planning to boost employment over the three months from November, data revealed today, just as optimism swung back into the positive regions.

A net balance of seven per cent of firms working in consumer services planned to add to their workforce in the next three months, the data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed, compared to minus 19 per cent in the August survey.

And business and professional services firms told a similar story – with plus 13 per cent, up from plus four per cent, saying they would add staff in the period.

This move came after a remarkable return to optimism – consumer services firms went from a confidence score of minus 23 per cent in August to plus five per cent in November. In business services a net balance of minus 11 per cent expressed cheer in August, but some plus 22 per cent recorded positive sentiment in November.

“There are encouraging signs here,” said Anna Leach at the CBI, “particularly with employers increasing headcount and training expenditure at the fastest pace since November 2007 and investment plans for the year ahead a little better.”

But responses concerning profits showed a less optimistic story, with negative index values for both major areas of the sector.