Verdict has been conducting the poll to study the trends in business optimism during COVID-19 as reflected by the views of companies on their future growth prospects amid the pandemic.

Analysis of the poll responses recorded in September shows that optimism regarding future growth prospects increased by four percentage points to 63% from 59% in August.

The respondents who were optimistic remained unchanged at 23% in September, while those very optimistic increased by four percentage points to 40%.

The respondents who were pessimistic decreased by one percentage point to 9%, whereas those who were very pessimistic increased by one percentage point to 15%, from 14% in August.

The percentage of respondents who were neutral (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) decreased by four percentage points to 13%.

Business optimism September 2021_Chart

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The analysis is based on 1,176 responses received from the readers of Verdict network sites between 01 September and 30 September 2021.

Easing of restrictions and improving employment prospects boost business confidence

Overall business confidence in the UK in the first half of September increased by ten points to 46% in September, which is the highest recorded since April 2017, according to Lloyds Bank Business Barometer survey. The increase in confidence was mainly due to improvement in employment prospects and sentiment across various sectors including manufacturing and services.

The survey was, however, conducted before the start of fuel price and supply chain issues that caused disruptions across the manufacturing, construction, and retail sectors.

Business confidence in the European Union (EU) and Euro zone remained stable in September, according to the European Commission’s economic sentiment index (ESI). The ESI remained unchanged at 117.8 in September compared to 117.5 in August and in the EU at 116.6 in September compared to 116.5 in August.

The ESI for the industry sector (industry confidence) also remained unchanged at 12.1 in the EU, while retail trade confidence declined drastically by 54.9%. The financial services confidence also declined by 6.6% and services confidence declined by 8.3%. Consumer confidence, however, improved by 17.4%, while construction confidence increased by 48.6% month-on-month.

Consumer sentiment index in the US too improved from 70.3 in August to 72.8 in September although optimism remains depressed due to the persistent increase in COVID cases due to the Delta variant and rising inflation rate.