The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has released new data that reveals the mid Yorkshire workforce is on the rise, with 35 per cent of service sector firms and 31 per cent of manufacturers expecting to increase their headcount in the next few months.  

This comes after 28 per cent of service sector firms and 24 per cent of manufacturers increased their headcounts in the first quarter of 2024. 

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) contributes to the national British Chambers of Commerce research, the UK’s largest and longest-running independent business survey which is used by policy makers such as the Bank of England and the Treasury. The research also helps the Mid Yorkshire Chamber and other local and regional bodies campaign for the right business support, at the right time.  

Despite the positive outlook, the research revealed that wages were the top concern for firms in mid Yorkshire, with 62 per cent of manufacturers and 60 per cent of services firms citing it as their current main business issue.   

However, one in four West Yorkshire firms reported that they were expecting their profits to increase during the coming months, with manufacturers most optimistic on turnover, predicting a 13 per cent increase from this quarter during the spring.   

Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “After another tough year for Yorkshire firms, I am really pleased to see the tide turning and lots of key business performance metrics improving over quarter one of 2024.  

“Workforces are growing, investment is on the rise, and so are overseas and UK sales. But despite these promising results and inflation forecast to continue falling, firms are still struggling financially. Wages, raw material costs and utility costs were cited as key concerns this quarter for businesses across the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield areas. 

“To ensure we can continue this trajectory of getting people into jobs, there must be a focus on skills. Our work on the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) identified a number of key areas where skills provision needed to be improved.  

“I am pleased to report that as a result of our LSIPs work, the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) has enabled West Yorkshire Colleges to secure £6.9m from the Department of Education to digitise teaching and learning in these sectors. Calderdale and Kirklees colleges are taking the lead on the Creative Industries and Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering projects, respectively. It is fantastic to see two of our local colleges making a huge impact on future skills for our region.”