The UK's economic recovery has gradually picked up during the last 12 months and the outlook is positive for many industry sectors in 2014.
32% of SME business owners expect their business to expand in 2014.
The services sector, which represents nearly three quarters of the UK economy, experienced exceptionally strong levels of growth throughout most of 2013. This looks set to continue in 2014 with 70% of service companies surveyed in the Close Brothers Business Barometer* planning to take on new staff within the next 12 months.
In fact, the mood is generally upbeat with almost a third (32%) of SME business owners* expecting their business to expand in 2014, and a further 62% of firms polled planning to take on new staff in the year ahead.
Industry health check
Manufacturing and Engineering
More than half of British engineers are willing to leave the UK to find work abroad, according to research by recruitment group Matchtech.
The services sector experienced unprecedented growth during 2013 with new business orders reaching record highs in Q4 of 2013.
The Recruitment and Employment Federation (REC) predict accelerated growth of 7.3% in 2013/14.
Print and packaging
Almost nine in ten print and packaging firms believe that energy companies are taking advantage of them with rising prices.
UK air freight volume is expected to expand by 1.6% in 2014 and rail freight predicted to increase by 15.8%.
Wholesale and distribution
More than a third of wholesale and distribution firms expect their business to expand in the next 12 months and two thirds have plans to raise finance.
*The Close Brothers Business Barometer is conducted on a quarterly basis. It canvasses the opinion of SME owners on a range of issues affecting their business.