Private sector has shown resilience

The latest Growth Indicator published by the CBI shows that private sector activity across the UK economy continued to grow at a relatively strong pace in the three months to November.

Activity has now been growing at an above average level for seven successive surveys, with the latest composite measure recording a total net balance of +32% in the quarter to November, compared to +29% in the previous three-month period. The survey also shows that growth remained broad-based, with above average rates reported across all sub-sectors.

The research, which was conducted before emergence of the Omicron strain, did suggest that activity may be set to ease in the coming months, with expectations for growth dipping to their lowest level since March. In spite of this downturn, expectations are still above their long-term average, which implies that activity could continue at a relatively firm pace.

Commenting on the findings, CBI Lead Economist Alpesh Paleja said, “Given challenges across supply chains and rising cost pressures, the resilience shown by the private sector across the past seven months has been encouraging. Our surveys were conducted before concern over the Omicron variant grew, so any impact on activity and confidence will need to be watched closely.”