Employer confidence in the UK economy has fallen to its lowest level in over three years as Brexit and General Election uncertainty hangs over firms, new data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has shown.
Companies said they were ready to invest in November, however, showing that the upcoming General Election should focus on work, the REC said.
The UK jobs market has been a strong point in the economy in 2019, while business investment and trade has suffered under a cloud of Brexit uncertainty.
Unemployment sits close to 45-year lows, which has boosted the giant services sector. However, there are signs that employment is beginning to cool.
Employers’ confidence levels in the economy fell from minus 31 in October to minus 34 in November, the worst since records began in July 2016.
Significantly more employers were looking to increase rather than decrease their permanent staffing but were being held back by political and economic uncertainty.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “This month’s figures show that there is a great deal of potential in Britain’s businesses, just waiting to be unleashed.
“With so many firms at or close to full capacity, it’s no surprise that employers want to invest in their workforces.”
The upcoming General Election on 12 December will determine whether Britain leaves the European Union on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
Johnson has said that it would provide the certainty employers need to increase investment.
Many economists have said that Britain would merely enter a new phase of uncertainty as it works out its trading relationships with the EU and the rest of the world, however.
Carberry said: “We are urging all parties to think hard about how their policies will impact companies and their workers.”
He added: “By putting people at the heart of its industrial strategy, a new government can help employers to boost productivity and provide good jobs for people across the country.”