Cautious optimism as lockdown eases

UK firms have shown signs of increased optimism as business activity begins to pick up after lockdown measures were eased. The small business activity index from NatWest, which monitors output at private sector firms with between one and 49 employees in the services, construction and manufacturing industries, rose from 14.6 in April to 26.3 in May, but remains below the 50 no-change value.

Principal economist Stephen Blackman said: “The question is, what happens as these schemes unwind? And here the news is mixed. More than a third of small business in services expect a further reduction in activity this year. Yet, fewer firms now anticipate a reduced workforce than they did in April.”

Read more: City AM

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